City should remain clean at any cost

Cultural Correspondent

THE High Court directive for the two city corporations of the capital Dhaka to report back to the court in three months on measures they have so far taken on waste management of the city is a welcome piece of news. Poor disposal of litters, garbage and solid municipal wastes have already dirtied the city roads and streets, with the waste collection drive of the city corporations proving to be mostly inadequate. It is true that the city corporations have garbage containers kept in many places, mostly not at a convenient distance from the households though, but in many cases, they are not emptied or taken away regularly. They, therefore, often overflow, with litters and garbage collecting on the road and the footpath and, thereby, making pedestrian movement difficult. While such overflow of garbage often forces people to hold their nose when they pass by, the containers, full to the brim with wastes, rotting, also come to be causes of various diseases, especially in the winter when the weather is dry and during the rains as waste water seeps through, soiling the road and footpath.
A 2015 study shows that the capital Dhaka now generates an estimated 6,110 tonnes of solid wastes a day. The total figure of waste generation in urban cities in Bangladesh, according to an independent research of 2014, was about 10,000 tonnes a day in the early 1990s and it is feared that the figure of waste generation from all these cities could reach 47,000 tonnes in 2025. And Dhaka being the most populous city, the generation of solid waste here is understandably the largest. While the figures, the projection and the rate of solid waste increase are by all means daunting, equally poor remains the waste collection rate, which in Dhaka is reported to have grown significantly though. The municipal waste collection rate, mostly in Dhaka’s south, is reported to have increased from 35 per cent in 2005 to 70 per cent in 2015 and another research of 2005 puts the countrywide figure at 55 per cent. The figures, whatever they are, tend to indicate that waste generation is faster, or more, than the waste collection, which have led the capital Dhaka into the present situation. The city corporations of Dhaka in June 2013 launched an initiative called ‘Urban Public and Environmental Health Development Project’ in their efforts to make the capital free of filth. The project, which had by then already been introduced to some city areas, was supposed to be completed in two to three years. Well past the duration, the city still seems to be filled with filth.
Under the circumstances, it is time that the government shored up its waste collection drive and outpaced waste generation rate to keep the city clean. Especially after the court has directed the city corporations to ensure the cleanliness of the city, it would be more welcome if it would not let the corporations get away by not complying with its directive.

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