Faulty solid waste management in Rajshahi city
Dumping in open space poses health hazard to dwellers
Over 40 percent solid wastes of Rajshahi city are dumped into drains, open spaces and water bodies, causing environmental pollution and health hazards.
Even the officially designated dumping ground remains open to pollute the air and water while liquid wastes collected from drains are often kept on streets to dry up as Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) lacks proper waste management logistics, said experts and sources in the RCC.
The city generates approximately 350 tonnes of solid waste every day while the amount increases to 400 tonnes during summer. Of the total, only 210 tonnes are collected and dumped into the open dumping ground at Nawdapara, said Sheikh Md Mamun, chief conservancy officer of RCC.
The remaining 140 tonnes of waste are dumped straight into drains, water bodies and open spaces, said waste management staff and researchers.
The matter came to light recently as the RCC started implementing projects to clean the city's major drains. The officials found the drains filled up and clogged due to rampant dumping of solid wastes over years.
Mamun, however, claimed that much of the city suburbs are agricultural land where the solid wastes are turned into compost and there is no need to collect those wastes.
"Many residents have to dump solid wastes into drains and other spaces as the RCC has poor logistic support," said Dr Muhammed Alamgir, civil engineering faculty dean of Khulna University of Engineering and Technology.
Alamgir, who conducted a research on waste management in Rajshahi, said his research found that the RCC's open dumping ground at Nawdapara is unscientific and contributing to pollution.
RCC has 1,073 waste management manpower provided with eight tractors, 16 lorries, two hydraulic trucks and 182 rickshaw-vans to collect wastes from households.
A large number of sweepers, backed by a section of RCC officials, allegedly draw salaries without any work.
“The situation has improved since the corporation stared night time waste collection last year and involved communities in the work,” said RCC Chief Engineer Sirajum Munir.
“An initiative is underway to develop a properly engineered landfill at Nawdapara dumping ground. Once the landfill is developed, many waste related problems will be solved,” he added.
Munir said the corporation is now compelled to collect liquid waste weeks after those are kept on open roads for drying as the corporation lacks proper equipment.