Urban development director in BRAC Md Liakath Ali, who is also a hydraulic and environmental engineer, said that in Bangladesh there were many examples of safe faecal sludge management systems but what is needed is collective measures to choose the best options and implement them.
He said that different non-government organisations like Water Aid, Practical Action and SNV set different examples of sewerage management even in the upazila areas.
He said that compost fertiliser was being produced from faecal sludge at Shakhipur in Tangail, which was sold at Tk 15 per kilogram.
He said that the government should collaborate with non-government organisations for the development of an effective sewerage system in Dhaka and elsewhere in Bangladesh.
Former deputy managing director of Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority Liakath said that one third area of Dhaka still remained out of sewerage network coverage. So, the Dhaka WASA could collect the sewage from septic tank and treat them in their plant.
‘Sewerage treatment plant at Pagla has the option of such treatment but the Dhaka WASA was not doing that,’ he said.
He said that faecal sludge treatment was needed mainly for environment and health aspects but it was a treasure too.
Liakath said that Dhaka WASA might install small-scale management system in particular areas for the better achievement.
He warned that without safe management of sewerage Bangladesh would not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals although Bangladesh shown an example of meeting Millennium Development Goals target which included minimising open defecation.
He said that Bangladesh achieved 100 per cent successes in stopping open defecation, reducing it to zero but in wastewater management Bangladesh was yet to achieve anything.
He suspected that if an important goal like SDG 6.2, which involved sanitation management, was not achieved it would hamper in our effort to achieve other goals because the goals were interconnected.
Sewerage was an organic waste contained E coli and coliform bacteria, which were harmful for human health and environment.
Three main health risks are present due to the effects of raw sewage exposure — viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
Liakath said that if the open dumping of sewerage into the water bodies continued, public health and environment would deteriorate.
He urged the government to ensure installation of septic tank on an emergency basis. Septic tank was mediatory in the Bangladesh building code.
If the government could ensure septic tank for each household, pollution would be reduced partially.
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