The two city corporations of Dhaka are yet to implement the 3R strategy -- reduce, reuse and recycle -- for waste management in the capital although almost 11 years have elapsed since the formulation of the integrated plan by the government.
The principle of reducing waste, reusing and recycling resources and products is often called the ‘3Rs’.
Sources said the Department of Environment (DoE) formulated the National 3R Strategy for Waste Management in 2010 to eliminate the deposal of garbage into open dumps, rivers and floodplains by 2015.
But the authorities of the two city corporations of Dhaka failed to implement the strategy.
Instead, they continue to dump the solid waste in open-air landfills at Matuail and Aminbazar in the capital while a large portion of uncollected waste is disposed of on open spaces, canals, rivers and floodplains.
Experts said the 3R strategy could not be implemented due to the absence of an action plan and coordination between the government and the two city corporations.
According to the DSCC and DNCC, around 6,500 tonnes of waste are generated in the capital and they can collect 5,500 tonnes.
However, experts said they can instead earn by recovering the resources, reducing the volume of waste and saving land through implementing the integrated waste management.
On top of that, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) approved the Clean Dhaka Master Plan 2018-32 incorporating the 3R strategy but there is no sign of implementing the plan as of today.
In the strategy, the government suggested promoting reducing, recycling and reusing by composting biogas and incineration of waste through a mandatory segregation at source.
It also aims at creating a market for recycled products and providing incentives for recycling of the waste.
Municipal waste management expert Dr Tariq Bin Yousuf said the Department of Environment as the focal department of the government took a Tk 21 crore pilot project to implement the 3R strategy for solid waste management.
Dr Tariq, who is the additional chief engineer of DNCC, said, “The DoE distributed some different colours of waste bins for keeping organic, recyclable and hazardous waste separately at different localities in Dhaka to ensure segregation of waste at source. They also designed a van for carrying organic and non-organic waste in separate chambers.”
The expert opined that the attempt discontinued due to the absence of an action plan and coordination between the DoE and the local government authorities.
“Both the DNCC and DSCC have revised their waste management master plan with the technical support of JICA and incorporated recycling of waste. The master plan is needed to be endorsed by the government for implementation,” Dr Tariq also added.
What DSCC and DNCC are planning now?
Sources at the DSCC and DNCC said acquiring and developing 162 acres of land is underway to expand the landfills at Matuail and Aminbazar and to introduce the 3R strategy in waste management.
But while visiting the proposed sites at Matuail and Aminbazar recently, it was seen that the sites are floodplains which are still under water.
Talking to the Daily Sun, Executive Engineer (Disposal) of Waste Management Department of DNCC SM Shafiqur Rahman said they are acquiring 81 acres of land by the landfill at Aminbazar to expand it adding modern features.
He said, “Out of 81 acres, we have a plan to allocate 30 acres for waste-to-energy plant, 4.62 acres for compost plant, 3.95 acres for recycling and 3.35 acres for disposing medical waste.”
“We’ve signed a deal with Chinese company CAMC for turning waste into electricity. We’ll hand over the 30 acres of land to them by June 2022. We’ll provide 3,000 tonnes of waste per day for them and they’ll give us Tk 2 crore as the fee of the land,” the engineer added.
He, however, said they did not get any proposal for biogas or compost plant.
Meanwhile, DSCC Executive Engineer of Waste Management Department Sufi Ullah Siddik Bhuyan said they have completed the acquisition of 81 acres of land beside the existing 100-acre sanitary landfill but it is yet to be developed.
He also said, “We have a plan to allocate 30 acres for recycling, compost, biogas, medical waste management plant, incineration plant and e-waste plant in the 81 acres. The rest of the land will be kept for waste filling.”
The DSCC engineer said they have a target to develop the land by June 2022.
He also said they got 25 proposals for waste-to-energy plant at the landfill from private entrepreneurs while they did not get any proposal for compost and biogas plants. “The proposals are sent to the ministry. They’ll select a private firm for producing electricity from waste,” he said.