The paper estimates the total value for the community of the cleanup of the Buriganga River. Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, was developed on the bank of the Buriganga River in the early 1600s. The river is now near dead mainly due to human interventions. The paper develops a hypothetical cleanup programme to improve the water quality, which will help the overall environment in and around the river. The value of this programme is estimated within the framework of total economic value; non-marketed benefits are measured through a contingent valuation survey and marketed benefits are estimated using market and shadow prices. The findings of the survey suggest that not only are a significant proportion of the residents willing to pay for the cleanup programme, but many are also willing to contribute in non-monetary ways (mainly their time). When the latter contribution is monetised, it represents 60% of the total value for the non-marketed benefits. The marketed benefits are estimated to represent 58% of the overall value of the cleanup programme (US$18.6 million/year). A failure to account for all benefits could lead to a gross underestimation of the desirability of providing public funding for the cleanup of dying rivers.

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