Sharif Jamil

Buriganga Riverkeeper and Waterkeepers Bangladesh
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Sharif Jamil is a Waterkeeper Warrior.

Imagine living in a village where the water is so polluted it actually stinks. It burns your nostrils… a smell you can’t escape. That’s because the water is full of raw waste. It’s undrinkable. Unswimmable. And unacceptable.

This is the reality for villagers in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

There’s no legal recourse for pollution… no government protection for the people… and seemingly, no choice but to live with it. So what do they do? Who do they call?

They call Sharif Jamil, the Buriganga Riverkeeper.

They call Sharif because he comes right away. He’s not afraid… even though he could be run off the road… kidnapped… or even killed on his way there. It’s risky to take on industry in a rapidly developing nation. But Sharif knows how to fight… and who to fight. He does it every day.

Sharif halts the construction of coal-fired power plants. Forms protests that make front-page news. Meets with government ministers and members of parliament. He wears everyone down.

Even if it means his life, Sharif doesn’t give up. Because he loves his country… and he loves his river.

Listen to Sharif’s story:

Photographed by © Farhad Rahman, courtesy of Culture Trip, with story voiced by Michael Keaton

Waterkeeper Magazine

Learn more about Sharif in the two-part 20th Anniversary edition of Waterkeeper Magazine.

Return to the full Waterkeeper Warriors gallery.