THAT solid wastes littered on roads in different parts of the capital Dhaka continue to cause public nuisance is a pointer to the lack of proper waste management and an apathy of the authorities concerned towards public health. Hazardous medical, electronic and electrical wastes as well as municipal wastes are often found, as New Age reported on Monday, in houses, offices and business centres, being carried by rainwater; but they have none to complain to against it. An environment department director observed that medical, electronic and electrical wastes are very likely to contain, mercury, lead, cadmium, zinc and other harmful elements for the environment and public. While many of the waste containers are not placed at proper places, the bad smell of the wastes coming out from waste containers makes it difficult for pedestrians to use the roads.
With an estimated 16 million residents, and some 6,00,000 more coming here to stay every year, the disposal of waste, solid and liquid, has indeed become a growing challenge for the Dhaka South City Corporation and the Dhaka North City Corporation. At present, the city produces around 6,000 tonnes of solid wastes every day, resulting from different households, and industrial and commercial activities. But the corporations can collect only a half of this total waste. In other words, around 3,000 tonnes of waste each day remain uncollected, littered by the roads and in other open places, posing danger to the environment of the city. The blockage of drains because of household and other garbage and thereby the overflow of dirty water have for long been almost a regular experience for the people living in this city. Meanwhile, the manner in which the corporations dispose of the waste is anything but scientific. Wastes collected by private workers appointed by different community-based organisations more often than not are seen to rot in the containers. To add to the annoyance of the citizens and the people moving along city roads, they usually use open trucks to carry the garbage to dumps located on the outskirts of the city. The High Court Division on October 16 directed the two city corporations to stop carrying garbage in uncovered vehicles and asked them to collect and carry garbage between 10:00pm and 6:00am. We all expect that the authorities concerned would comply with the court order immediately.
It is important to mention here that, according to experts, the wastes that are not disposed of properly provide home for various microorganisms responsible for diseases, including jaundice. One cannot deny that dustbins or waste containers on different locations around the city provide for breeding grounds for mosquitoes, especially the ones that carry the germs of malaria and dengue which may even lead to the fatality of the patients in case they are not treated properly. The government is, under the circumstances, well advised to take immediate steps to help the corporations to address the concern of waste management effectively.
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