Sri Lanka’s capital city Colombo is home to over 30 percent of the country’s population, one in every two people living in the Greater Colombo Area is a slum dweller.
Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, is home to 34 percent of the country's population and is the fastest growing city in Asia – around 40 percent of those living in Dhaka are slum dwellers.
In India fully half the population of the capital, New Delhi, lives in slums, while the figure could be as high as 60 percent in glittering Mumbai. Nation-wide 93 million people are estimated to be living in slums.
Ming Zhang, the World Bank sector manager for Urban Water and Disaster Management for South Asia, predicted that the urban population in South Asia would double in the next 25 years. Already one in every four persons is categorised under ‘informal population’ or living in shanties or slums in the urban areas of the region
Regional experts and those from the World Bank agree that most of the problems faced by the cities are man-made, primarily due to lack of proper planning.
"If we thought about proper urban planning, institutional coherence and community participation, we would be able to address a big chunk of this problem" Abha Joshi-Ghani, the World Bank's Sector Manager for Finance Economics and Urban Planning explained "We are depleting our resources by inefficient and indiscriminate use of resources." Joshi-Ghani told went on to say that any relocation of slum-dwellers has to take into consideration the incomes and lifestyles of those affected, which, if disrupted, could turn the solution itself turns into a problem. "Many think that cities make people poor, when in fact cities attract the poor who think they can make a better living there" she said.