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Outside Chobi Mela VI: Eyes and Scars

January 22, 2011 Leave a comment

As Chobi Mela VI continues in Dhaka, we here present a visual series of images of the mass urbanization occurring in Dhaka and its consequences.

On the periphery of Dhaka, behind one of the Jatrabari Market the remains of a pond, once potable. As the city of Dhaka grows in population the need for urban housing does too. Nearly 300,000 to 400,000 people come to the city every year in search of income. Some stay temporarily, some sleep on the street but in the meantime thousands of high rises are being built for all classes. Dhaka suffers from one of the most polluted urban environments and with a low supply of drinking water. Yet the water table is very low below the ground surface. Dhaka used to be a city of fresh water ponds, as was once pictured here. Due to a lack of space in the city and the fast paced urban construction these ponds have been destroyed due to land fills. The irony lies in that as Bangladesh’s countryside slowly floods in the north and the south due to climate change,  Dhaka too will soon suffer more arriving water from the sea, making the already scarce water supply salty.

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Dhaka Mega City Post #18: Garment Workers

August 26, 2010 1 comment

A young woman sews in the dark at home in slum in Dhaka, during one of the many regular daily power outages the city suffers. She is working during her day off from the garment industry, to help ends meet and pay off family debts.

The garment industry of Bangladesh has been the key export division and a main source of foreign exchange for the last 25 years. At present, the country generates some $5 billion worth of products each year by exporting garment. The industry provides employment to over 3 million workers of whom 90% are women. Bangladesh-based factories make clothes for international brands such JCPenney, Wal-Mart, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Zara and Carrefour.

Violence has erupted in the Bangladeshi capital periodically this year as thousands of garment workers continue to protest over a government-backed wage increase that falls short of demands.
The minimum monthly wage was risen to 3,000 taka ($43), up from 1,662 taka. However, some labour unions are insisting and calling for a wage of 5,000 taka. After the end of Ramadan, the protests and demands are set to continue.