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2024-04-04 11:45:10

Municipalities across country grapple with garbage crisis

Staff Reporter

Municipalities across country grapple with garbage crisis

Municipalities nationwide are grappling with a mounting garbage crisis, transforming urban areas into veritable dumping grounds. Failure to promptly dispose of civic waste is posing a threat to citizens' lives, with pollution and foul odors permeating residential areas and thoroughfares.

Mayors of these municipalities cite a lack of resources and capacity to modernize waste management systems. Many struggle to secure land and establish proper dumping stations, exacerbating the problem. Consequently, most municipalities lack the capability to adequately handle household and medical waste, rendering them hubs of citizen distress rather than centers of public service.

Reports from our correspondents and district representatives offer a glimpse into the dire situation unfolding across various municipalities nationwide.

Bogura: City dwellers are fed up with the stench of unplanned garbage dump. As most of the wastes are on the road side, the garbage ends up on the road. Bogura municipality, the largest in the country by area, is home to more than 1 million people. An average of more than 250 tons of garbage is collected from these settlements every day, which is dumped on the city streets.

Sources said, Bogura municipality established in 1876 was expanded to 21 wards with an area of 69.56 square kilometers in 2007. Before 2007, every neighborhood in the city had a dustbin. Residents used to throw their household garbage there. Later all dustbins are removed to protect the environment. Municipalities introduced mobile dustbins through vans.

Community Based Organization (CBO) was formed for this work. Through this organization, garbage is taken in vans and kept at different transfer stations in the city. From there, the cleaning staff in the garbage truck threw the garbage to dump. The authorities could not introduce modern waste management despite being an ancient municipality of about one and a half hundred years. As a result, the wastes are lying around in the locality.

The municipality claims that it is not possible for Bogura Municipality to take such a plan without a big budget project. There are about 172 CBOs in Bogura. There are 19 garbage trucks. All but two of these are rented by the municipality.

Every day garbage is dumped in the open spaces on the roadside in front of the city's Banani Silk Development Board, Thanthania, Seuzgari Agricultural Office, Railway Station, Shivbati Shilpakala Academy. In front of Saptapadi Market which is the heart of the city, in front of Fateh Ali Bazar, on SP Bridge, garbage piles up every day. Garbage from many areas falls directly into the Karatoa River that flows through the heart of the city.

The executive officer of Bogura Municipality said, “One of our problems is manpower. That's why we have a little deficiency in our work. We try our best to remove the garbage as quickly as possible. A large-scale project is required to implement modern waste management.”

Tangail: The 132-year-old Tangail Municipality has not yet developed modern waste management. Garbage is dumped along the main two of the three entrances to the city. As a result, one have to enter the city with nose stuck to the stench. It is with this stench that the city dwellers and guests coming to the city are welcomed. The people traveling on that road are suffering due to garbage being dumped on the side of the road.

About 2 lakh people live in this municipality with an area of 29.43 square kilometers. For seven-eight years, the city's garbage has been dumped on the northern side of the city's entrance Rabna, next to the Tangail-Mymensingh road. Garbage from the south is being dumped at Kagmari Babystand area, another entrance to the city. Garbage dumping at Ashekpur in the city is currently closed. Due to the dumping of garbage, the people living in the area and those traveling through this road are fed up with the stench.

Apart from this, dead animals, cows, goats and dogs are also thrown with this garbage. You can't stand in that area because of the stench. Living at home has also become difficult. Meanwhile, garbage is often set on fire. Then the smoke and smell of the surrounding people have to suffer extreme pain.

MM Ali Government College Assistant Professor Sheikh Md. Roshan Alam's wife Shahina Akhter said, “My house is here in Babystand Kagmari area where garbage is being dumped. Having to live in a lot of stench with the family. We are in a lot of trouble.”

Mayor of Tangail Municipality SM Sirajul Haque Alamgir said, “There is a plan to develop modern waste management. City development activities are going on. We do not have the required space to set up a garbage dumping station. I have asked the district administration for a place. If I get space, I will recycle the garbage and make the environment beautiful. He expressed hope that this problem will be solved soon.”

Kaliakair: Although Kaliakair of Gazipur is a first-class municipality in the country, the students and residents are suffering from the smell of dirt due to lack of waste management. The municipal waste is kept on the land of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibu Digital University. Thousands of people have to walk through the stench from the garbage. The land of Bangabandhu Digital University is seen littered with garbage. Municipal garbage trucks bring the city's garbage and dump it there throughout the day. Even hospital-clinic waste is dumped here. Dead bodies of various animals are also broken up.

Asif, a student of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Digital University said, “We have to hold our noses in class because of the smell of dirt. Despite repeatedly saying that the municipality is throwing garbage here.”

Mayor of Kaliakair Municipality Mojibur Rahman said, “We have already taken steps in this matter. Arrangements will be made for dumping of garbage very soon.”

Faridpur: Faridpur's Nagarkanda Municipality's college road is adjacent to the end boundary of Ward No. 2 and 7. City residents including pedestrians are in extreme distress due to the stench and smoke coming out of the garbage heap.

(The report was published on print and online versions of The Bangladesh Pratidin on April 04 and rewritten in English by Tanvir Raihan)

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