‘Sustainable waste management system needed for Dhaka city’

Staff Correspondent . Dhaka | Update:

Participants pose for a photograph at a roundtable of Dhaka city’s waste management system at Karwan Bazar’s CA Bhaban on Tuesday. Photo: Prothom Alo.Two city corporations of Dhaka produce around 6,250 tonnes of waste every day. Still there is no sustainable and modern waste disposal system in the mega city that creates different health hazards of the citizens. The situation would worsen if the authorities fail to resolve the problem.

Discussants came up with the views at a roundtable on Dhaka city’s waste management system on Tuesday.
Prothom Alo, in association with BUET Alumni, organised the roundtable titled ‘In Search of Sustainable Waste Management in Dhaka City’ at Karwan Bazar’s CA Bhaban.

National professor and BUET Alumni president Jamilur Reza Chowdhury said the city corporations cannot collect the waste produced in Dhaka every day.

Lack of coordinated garbage disposal system creates several problems for the citizens, he added.

He also said the authorities should take health risk of waste collectors into consideration as well.

Dhaka North City Corporation mayor Atiqul Islam urged the citizens to become more aware of waste management system in the city.

“When we go abroad, we don’t litter in wrong places in fear of punishment. But we litter things anywhere we want once we’re in Bangladesh,” he said.

Mayor Atiqul said the authorities should be tougher on littering practices.

He also said 5,200 tonnes of waste would be disposed every day in Dhaka north city corporation area only in 2021 but land for disposal have already exhausted.

Stakeholders such as city corporations and environment department should work in coordinated way for a sustainable waste disposal system.

“We must bring discipline to waste management system. We must make alert our citizens about it,” Atiqul added.

Referring to a successful waste management plant in Tangail’s Sakhipur, Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) chairman Sultan Ahmed said such local initiatives can be implemented in larger scale.

National professor and BUET Alumni president Jamilur Reza Chowdhury speaks at the roundtable on Tuesday. Photo: Prothom Alo.Professor Emeritus at Stamford University M Feroze Ahmed in his keynote speech said there are three types of waste disposal systems. Sanitary landfill is most viable option for Bangladesh right now.

Although the system requires land but the filled land after exhaustion of gas can be used for alternative purposes, he said.

Local Government Engineering Department’s (LGED) assistant chief engineer Md Shahjahan Mollah said awareness should be raised among the citizens about waste disposal system.

“Children should be made aware of the importance of waste management at their schools,” he added.

At the policy level, he mentioned, there should be reforms. He urged the government to form an independent body which will work on waste management.

Dhaka North City Corporation’s executive engineer Abul Hasnat Md Ashraful Alam said, “One of the biggest problems is we do not have regulatory support for waste management.”

Environment, forest and climate change ministry’s director Ziaul Haque said 30-40 million plastic packages get disposed in the country every day.

The companies producing those packages should also share the burden of waste disposal, he added.

Professor of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology Delwar Hossain, director general of power division’s power cell Mohammad Hossain, professor of chemical engineering department of BUET Ijaz Hossain, Prothom Alo associate editor Abdul Quayyum, among others, spoke at the programme. 

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