The indication given by Local Government, Rural Development (LGRD) and Cooperative Minister Md Tajul Islam during his visit last Saturday to the Amin Bazar waste dumping ground is that negotiation is on for producing power from garbage. Indeed, it is a highly welcome move to set up a power plant at the site of Amin Bazar waste dumping ground. The minister envisions, quite rightly, that the proposed power plant -first of its kind in the country -will produce power, bio-gas and organic manure and thus help the city get rid of its huge waste. True, power generation at this moment is not a priority because the country produces surplus electricity. But the proposed power plant will use 3,000 metric tonnes of the 6,000 metric tonnes of waste the capital city generates every day. This means half of the city's waste will no longer accumulate to spread nauseous stench from this dumping ground. If another such plant is set up on the other side of the city at Sayedabad or Matuail, a clean city will not be a distant dream.
No wonder, the minister calls the proposed plant his dream project. His emphasis on a clean Dhaka the power plant will contribute to by assuming the role of a mechanical scavenger really makes sense. Disposal of the Himalayan proportion of waste generated by a city of about 15 million is indeed a daunting task. Now the plant will not only consume half of the garbage but also by a single stroke solve the problem of waste disposal. The garbage will act as a raw material that will cost nothing except its carrying cost. So production of electricity at the plant is likely to be cheaper and additionally, there will be bio-gas and organic manure as by-products.
This last of the by-products may have prompted the minister to develop an eco-park close to the power plant. This again is attestation of the minister's farsightedness about the business at hand. A greener patch nearby will have ample supply of organic manure for its lush growth all around. So, the environment of the 80-acre or so project will get naturally balanced. Much will, however, depend on how people subsequently going to be involved with the project share the minister's vision and appreciate the need for this extra bit of eco-system's arrangement. If planned well, the now foul-smelling site can become a rendezvous of Nature lovers.
The minister discloses that the plant may go into operation within 18 months. But he also adds that the foreign company with which negotiation is going on has sought a little more time for completion of the plant. The details, such as the type and cost involved, of the plant have not been given yet. But since the capacity of waste consumption by the plant has been mentioned, half of the waste generated will remain unused. Could a plant of greater capacity be built? If not, can two such plants on either side of the city be taken up for construction? If the costs are not forbidden, this should be done - if not for anything else - at least in the interest of keeping the city clean and its environment healthy.