Bad management of solid waste

Asjadul Kibria | Published: March 08, 2019 22:12:56 | Updated: March 23, 2019 12:51:54

Dumping of solid waste at different places in Dhaka becomes a hazardous thing for human health and environment. Usually, large dustbins on different roads and streets are being used to dump the waste. But placing the bins without any care for surroundings makes the matter worse. Except for some posh areas like Gulshan and Dhanmondi, residents in most parts of the city have been suffering from the invisible pollution of dumped solid waste. Besides, there is great inconvenience as the bins are mindlessly placed without considering the difficulties of pedestrians and vehicles. 

Take the example of the Old Elephant Road stretching from Outer Circular Road to Hatirjheel at north. A big dustbin has been placed immediately after the connecting point of two roads, on the east side of the circular road blocking almost half of the lane. So, the busy connecting point becomes very chaotic, especially in peak hours. Pedestrians have to negotiate scattered waste spilling out of the bin on to the road and adjoined footpath.  Different motor vehicles and rickshaws throw tantrums at each other while passing the narrow strip. Though the matter was taken to the city corporation's notice several times, there is no remedy.

Again, within 400 meters from the connecting point to Hatitjheel bound road, another dustbin exists which is very close to a high school. A few years ago, students along with their teachers and parents organised a protest to remove the dustbin from there. Nobody cares.  The bin has been placed occupying half of the road and blocking the footpath. Spill-over waste litters the road, polluting the areas and clogging the drains.

These two examples are good enough to show the mismanagement of solid waste in the city. While solid waste needed to be managed in a way that reduces risks to the environment and human health, the current management practice appears largely unplanned and callous.  Reasons behind, however, include inadequate untrained manpower, lack of sufficient logistics and inappropriate technology.

In fact, generation of solid waste at a faster rate due to urbanisation and growing consumerism has already posed a serious management threat. Moreover, a lack of community awareness makes it even graver.

Managing solid waste at the household level is the starting point. Collecting the waste generated and stored in households to dumping in the bins in localities is an important part of the total waste management cycle.  Door-to-door collection system is already established as an efficient system.

But dumping the waste into local bins is a hazardous process. From local bins, garbage trucks of two city corporations collect the waste and carry these to designated landfills or dumping spots. Problems are quite visible in these parts of the waste disposal chain. Waste carried in open or half-covered trucks easily foul the environment. Although the two city corporations have increased the number of covered trucks, transferring the waste to trucks or towing the portable bins is not always smooth.

The workers involved with waste management are most vulnerable. They work without any protection and have not gears for the purpose. So the risk of transmission of skin-related diseases through them is very high.  The authorities need to pay attention to proper transfer of solid waste.




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