Turning Trash into Treasure This Eid-ul-Azha

Professor Dr. Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder and Anika Tahsin

29 August, 2018 12:00 AM printer

In almost all of the highly developed countries, the whole procedure of the Qurbani is much easier and environment-friendly. To do the rituals one must take the purchased livestock to the specific location then perform the slaughter there only. Then the meat and bone that is eatable are given to people and the remaining part of the livestock is sent to the dumping area or for reuse. This aids in keeping the environment safe and the meat, disease-free.

In our country the situation is horrifying. The unhygienic handling of meat and excretion, improper management of the skin and remaining feed of the animals. On the first day of Eid-ul-Azha, the roads in Dhaka look to be painted red because there is so much blood running down from everywhere. Not only does the groins, but also bones, horns, heads, blood-soaked mats, etc. are thrown on the road side or in drains. All of these leads to numerous problems and what causes more complications is that, they are all connected to each other. Like the rest of the Bangladesh our capital also goes through the same problems and more. There is a ridiculously foul smell everywhere due to the clotted blood mixing with the air around and causing some serious health hazards. Many of us even throw the blood-soaked mat and the animal waste into the drains, leading the drainage system to get clogged.

With a little sensibility, management and alterations we can turn the trash into treasure. Many of us throw away the groins of the livestock; however, if it is cleaned thoroughly and cooked properly we can you eat them too. Livestock excrete can be used as food for fishes and the blood which is high in protein can be used for as fodder. Similarly, the bone can act as a fertiliser to feed poultry. The bones, teeth and horns can be used to make utensils, buttons, furniture, medicine etc. According to a seminar in Poribesh Bachao Andolon (POBA) in terms of size, around 15 to 25 kilograms of leftover bones are there in one cow. These hold a great demand in the international market as such China and Thailand. POBA also mentioned that the present market price of the bones of cows bought in Eid-ul-Azha will be around 65 crore taka. In addition to that, the amount for the bones of cows slaughtered throughout the year will be around 140 crore taka. The City Corporation could make a lot of money simply by separating and collecting the horns and bones thrown in the landfill site each year. Introduction of new policies and terms which may include giving contract to a third party to manage these tasks may also help.

We can get rid of the waste by creating a dumping site on our own, in a village area or any open site. All the waste, from the ‘Qurbani' animal’s leftover feet to head, horns, and blood can be dumped there and covered with soil on top. This will prevent the spreading of the foul smell and the infestation of mosquitoes and thus infections and diseases. In 2017 an initiatives taken where the Dhaka South City Corporation determined 625 sites and the North City Corporation determined 549 sites respectively, when livestock’s could be slaughtered in Eid-ul-Azha. Due to lack of opportunity and enough campaigning, people did not participate very spontaneously last year. Despite, the City Corporation’s attempt to help prevent pollution, by distributing poly bags, every year, there has been no such improvement in waste management. The common people remarked that the poly bags are smaller even for an average-sized cow. There is not much space in those poly bags; they have to throw the remaining garbage into the drains or roadside. Eid is celebrated by almost everyone in our country. During Eid-ul-Azha, most of the cleaners of City Corporation go to villages to visit their home, and there are not many people to handle their work. This leads to more waste and garbage lying in the cities. The authorities, in this case, should appoint part-time cleaners and introduce modern machineries which can help remove the trash quickly. Keeping the environment clean is a responsibility and necessity for all of us.


The writers are associated with teaching and research respectively in the Department of Environmental Science at Stamford University Bangladesh. E-mail: [email protected])