Govt’s waste management project faltersShahin Akhter
The government pilot project, to make popular the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle approach for waste management, is not working properly for its various drawbacks, say government officials and citizens.
The department of environment is implementing the Waste Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Pilot Initiative Implementation (Phase 1) Project in Dhaka with a timeline from April 2010 to March 2013.
The department’s director (planning), Quazi Sarwar Imtiaz Hashmi, who is also deputy director of the project, told New Age that the 3R approach was taken to change people’s habit in managing wastes.
Under the project, three types of waste collection bins — a green bin for organic or perishable waste, yellow for recyclable wastes and red for poisonous waste — would be given to around 60,000 households in Dhaka and about 35,000 households in Chittagong.
‘Under the project, at first, we handed over three types of bin to about 10,000 households at East Dhanmondi, Azimpur and Ganabhaban (Mohammadpur) in March this year,’ said Imtiaz Hashmi.
But residents of East Dhanmondi and Azimpur said they were not using the bins while some said they did not get the red waste bin.
Nazma, an Azimpur Government Quarter resident, said she was only using the green bin for dumping the waste.
‘If the waste collectors would bring separate vans for the three types of wastes, I would have put the waste in separate bins,’ she said, adding, ‘But the waste collectors put all these three types of wastes into one van.’
Nasim, a Dhanmondi 14/A resident, said in March some people gave them a green and a yellow bins to put wastes but she was using them otherwise, putting rice in the green one and clothes in the yellow one.
‘The yellow bin has pores so it is dangerous to keep broken glass, iron or plastic things in it,’ she said, asking, ‘What is the use of using separate bins as the waste collectors are putting all wastes in the same van?’
The caretaker of the house, seeking anonymity, said they had been provided with two bins for each flat. The same allegation has come from Dhanmondi 13/A.
Residents like Shahana of Dhanmondi road 26 and Rohan of Dhanmondi 8/A said they got three bins but did not use them as the waste collectors would dump the wastes all together.
Meanwhile, wastes are as usual being dumped on the roads at points such as Dhanmondi 12/A, 8/A and 7/A and at different places inside the Azimpur Government Quarter.
A senior official of the Department of Environment told New Age that the project was not working the way it was supposed to go.
‘Political interference is hindering the project’s activities,’ the official added.
A waste management official of the city corporations said the project should be implemented by the city corporations as the department lacked manpower and logistic supports.
While approached, the deputy director of the project said initially they were providing waste collecting bins for the households.
‘We will construct one 20-tonne capacity compost plant in Dhaka and another in Chittagong to recycle these wastes,’ he said, adding, ‘We have submitted a letter to the city corporations on March 28 for a two-bigha land in Dhaka for the plant but did not get the answer yet.’
When informed that some households were not given red bins, he also said if the households were not really provided with the bins, the department would take action.
Imtiaz Hashmi farther informed that almost all the targeted residents in Chittagong got these bins and all the targeted residents in Dhaka would get the bins in two months.
Syed Qudratullah, additional chief waste management officer, said the city corporations were coordinating the project and they were looking for land for it.
‘You know that it is no very easy to find out land in this city,’ he added.
The project of about Tk 19.09 crore, funded by the Climate Change Trust Fund, is aimed to benefit about three lakh people of Dhaka city’s Gulshan, Baridhara, Ganabhaban (Mohammadpur), Dhanmondi, Mintu Road and Azimpur areas and Chittagong city’s Nasirabad, Shugandha Housing, Hill View Housing, Khulshi, North Khusshi, Panchlaish Housing Society, Moushumi Residential Area and Jamalkhan areas. Per day about 100 tonnes of household wastes are being produced in these areas, the project document says.
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