Weak waste administration leaves Dhaka communities in danger from landfill websites

Weak waste administration leaves Dhaka communities in danger from landfill websites
  • The 4 main waste landfills in Dhaka have left a severe environmental affect on the soil and groundwater of surrounding areas by way of leachate air pollution, a research reveals.
  • It discovered ranges of poisonous metals within the floor and groundwater and in vegetable and rice crops within the neighborhood of the landfill websites that have been greater than prescribed protected limits.
  • Specialists have referred to as on the authorities to enhance waste administration, together with higher coordination between municipal and nationwide authorities, in addition to better-engineered landfill websites that reduce the probabilities of leaching hazardous waste.
  • Municipal authorities deny the air pollution close to the landfills is because of the waste leakage alone, and say they plan to broaden the town’s largest landfill web site, each aboveground and underground.

DHAKA — Muzammel Hoque, 40, lives within the village of Konda, close to the biggest landfill that providers the town of Dhaka, some 30 kilometers (19 miles) away.

“The landfill has destroyed the wealthy wetland biodiversity and cropland on which individuals’s livelihood depended,” he stated, including that “many villagers have shifted to different areas for the reason that Dhaka metropolis company began dumping waste right here.”

For years, landfills in Bangladesh, such because the Amin Bazar facility close to Konda, have polluted the atmosphere and posed a well being menace to the folks. The waste spreads into close by neighborhoods and farms, and poisonous substances permeate into the bottom, with no protecting layers or enough waste disposal amenities in place.

Dhaka is served by 4 main landfills, all of which have left a severe environmental affect on the soil and groundwater of surrounding areas by way of what’s often known as leachate air pollution, a 2021 research reveals.

The research, by researchers at Dhaka’s Jahangirnagar College, discovered poisonous metals within the floor and groundwater within the neighborhood of the landfill websites, at concentrations greater than the protected limits decided by the Division of Setting and the World Well being Group (WHO).

This occurs by way of the method of leachate air pollution, by which poisonous liquids and heavy metals leak into the soil from strong waste that’s dumped in non-engineered landfills.

“It’s essential to have a number of protecting layers on the backside of an engineered and sanitary landfill, however we didn’t discover it within the ones in Dhaka’s outskirts,” stated research co-author Shafi Mohammad Tareq, a professor at Jahangirnagar College’s Division of Environmental Sciences.

Weak waste administration leaves Dhaka communities in danger from landfill websites
For years, landfills in Bangladesh have polluted the atmosphere and posed a well being menace to the folks. Picture courtesy of Shafi Mohammad Tareq.

The research additionally discovered poisonous chemical compounds in rice crops and varied greens being grown close to the landfills, corresponding to lead, cadmium, nickel and manganese. Consuming this meals places folks at excessive danger of cardiomyogenic most cancers, the research authors warn.

“The landfills are simply dumping grounds. They weren’t constructed following a sanitary mannequin. There aren’t any protecting layers and artificial membranes that may guard in opposition to the leachate air pollution,” Tareq stated.

The research didn’t discover the instant presence or affect of heavy metals in folks residing close to the websites. Nevertheless, consultants say the contamination is a technique of sluggish poisoning, with a power impact on human well being that’s not all the time instantly obvious.

There’s additionally rising concern over digital waste air pollution, as Bangladesh lacks acceptable laws and systematic e-waste administration methods. The nation produces 3 million metric tons of e-waste yearly, together with from ship-breaking yards, based on one other current research.

The leachate from dumped e-waste, together with from cellphones, fridges, TVs, computer systems and air conditioners, additionally accommodates poisonous heavy metals and chemical compounds which can be detrimental to animals, people, and the atmosphere, the research says.

“The federal government ought to assist the e-waste trade as it could assist economically, in addition to environmentally, by decreasing waste era,” stated Dilip Kumar Datta, a professor of environmental science at Khulna College, who was not concerned in both of the brand new research.

The Matuail landfill in Dhaka.
The Matuail landfill in Dhaka. Picture courtesy of Shafi Mohammad Tareq.

Non-sanitary landfills

Municipal providers in Dhaka are run by two city-owned companies: Dhaka North Metropolis Company and Dhaka South Metropolis Company. Collectively, they gather about 7,500 metric tons of waste a day and dump it within the 4 landfills round Dhaka.

The Amin Bazar landfill, subsequent to the Dhaka-Aricha freeway, started working in 2007 and has over time adversely impacted tens of 1000’s of individuals residing close by, particularly within the villages of Konda and Baliarpur.

“It will get worse through the wet season as rainwater carries the landfill waste into the neighborhoods. We’re surrounded by stench and a layer of darkish, soiled water for days. Pores and skin ailments are widespread amongst folks residing right here,” Muzammel stated.

Throughout the dry season, the issues take a unique type because the landfill spreads mud within the space, leaving folks with respiratory issues and different respiratory points, added Muzammel, who can be the Konda village council secretary.

The soil construction in Dhaka is mostly thick and of top quality, which works effectively in opposition to leachate air pollution. Nevertheless, soil and farmland across the landfills have gotten contaminated due to flawed waste administration that they construction of the soil alone can’t stop, Dilip stated.

“Metropolis company authorities are barely conscious of the idea of engineered landfill that ensures safety layers,” he stated.

Each Tareq and Dilip instructed the authorities introduce a central administration system to make sure waste sorting through the assortment section; separate assortment strategies for natural, digital waste and medical waste; and solidification or stabilization for hazardous waste.

Each additionally stated the federal government ought to seek the advice of waste administration consultants to deal with the problem and never proceed to take a bureaucratic strategy to the issue.

A landfill in Bangladesh.
A current research discovered poisonous metals within the floor and groundwater within the neighborhood of the landfill websites, at concentrations greater than the protected limits. Picture courtesy of Shafi Mohammad Tareq.

Lack of coordination on waste administration

Bangladeshi authorities agree that landfills websites pose a hazard to the encompassing atmosphere and communities, however don’t agree on who must be accountable.

The Division of Setting and the Dhaka metropolis companies seem to have launched into completely different initiatives to enhance waste administration with out enough coordination.

“We’re making ready a strong waste administration coverage and on the design of a sanitary landfill,” stated Ziaul Haque, a director on the Division of Setting. Nevertheless, he added, accountability for making certain a sound waste administration system falls on the Dhaka metropolis companies, because the “DoE capabilities as a regulatory physique whereas the town company works as an enforcement company.”

The dearth of coordination has had actual penalties on waste administration within the metropolis. The Division of Setting not too long ago needed to droop a $200 million mission financed by the World Financial institution for correct waste administration and supply segregation in Dhaka, because of the unwillingness of the Dhaka North Metropolis Company (DNCC) to affix it, based on officers.

DNCC chief govt Md. Selim Reza advised Mongabay that the town was launching a waste-to-energy mission, successfully producing electrical energy from 3,000 metric tons of waste every day.

“The town waste administration will utterly rework as quickly as we transfer from waste to power,” he stated.

Waste dumped next to a highway in Bangladesh.
Waste dumped subsequent to a freeway in Bangladesh. Picture courtesy of Shafi Mohammad Tareq.

Reza added waste administration has grow to be a serious problem in Dhaka due to the rising inhabitants of the town. That’s left the company seeking to broaden the landfills, each aboveground and underground.

“DNCC is working to implement an underground waste administration system,” he stated.

The company has reportedly acquired greater than 20 hectares (50 acres) of land subsequent to the Amin Bazar landfill, the place waste has pile up so excessive that it’s already overflowing.

Nevertheless, Reza denied that farms round Amin Bazar had been contaminated by the landfill, and as an alternative blamed “rising environmental air pollution” throughout.

Banner picture: A boy types by way of the waste in a landfill in Bangladesh. Picture courtesy of Shafi Mohammad Tareq.

Citations :

Parvin, F., & Tareq, S. M. (2021). Affect of landfill leachate contamination on floor and groundwater of Bangladesh: A scientific evaluation and doable public well being dangers evaluation. Utilized Water Science11(6). doi:10.1007/s13201-021-01431-3

Roy, H., Islam, M. S., Haque, S., & Riyad, M. H. (2022). Digital waste administration situation in Bangladesh: Insurance policies, suggestions, and case research at Dhaka and Chittagong for a sustainable resolution. Sustainable Expertise and Entrepreneurship1(3), 100025. doi:10.1016/j.stae.2022.100025

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Chemical substances, Growth, Setting, Environmental Legislation, Governance, Well being, Poisoning, Air pollution, Public Well being, Waste, Water Air pollution