• Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019
  • Last Update : 01:10 am

A large number of people living in squalid conditions and in need of proper solid waste management

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Photo: Pixabay

A large number of people living in squalid conditions and in need of proper solid waste management

The highly dense population due to the Rohingya influx in Cox’s Bazar district generates about 10,000 tons of waste per month, resulting in adverse impacts on health and environment. 

Considering the pressure caused by the over-population and the massive volume of waste produced daily in the cramped area, solid waste management (SWM) is now an urgent need in Cox’s Bazar.  SWM is a necessity for environmental protection, prevention of diseases, promotion of hygiene and proper sanitation standards. This will also generate income for the host communities through engaging them in waste collection, reduction and recycling. 

In partnership with development partners particularly with UNDP, BRAC is working in the refugee camps and host communities to remove solid waste from the settlements, carrying it to the waste disposal sites followed by setting up a system to maintain the cleanliness of the coverage areas to prevent critical public health problems and environmental issues. 

For effective solid waste management, the activities are designed based on the detailed assessment and community consultation conducted in 32 refugee camps, 5 Unions and 1 Poroushava.  Exact locations and waste to be cleaned are being identified and a cluster approach has been adopted for establishing a network for waste collection, transportation and disposal in the landfill sites. 

Cash for work (CfW) approach is being adopted involving both Rohingyas and host community households for quick impact waste removal, waste pits construction, establishing and maintaining the solid waste management system. 

This initiative ensures the health and safety issues by providing personal protective equipment (PPE) and proper training to the workers. This initiative is also contributing in promoting gender equality since we are engaging both men and women as participants in the temporary employment.

Following the clearing campaign for quick removal of waste, BRAC is also working to establish a solid waste management system in the camps and host communities. This includes the distribution of waste bins in the household levels and collecting waste regularly, maintaining the rehabilitated areas, transporting the waste regularly and improving the waste disposal sites. 

There are also some identified challenges in managing this huge amount of waste generated by the large number of population. The main challenges in waste management include jeopardized situation in the camps, congested settlements, lack of adequate space for communal pit, inadequate landfill sites, inadequate and poor roads and networks, heavy rainfall in the monsoon season, inadequate storage and transportation facilities, informal dumping sites, collection frequency, poor infrastructure and technology, and overall lack of public awareness on good sanitary practices, etc. 

To address the challenges and facilitate the behavioral changes, BRAC is raising awareness in the camps and host communities through promoting reduce, reuse and recycle principals and proper use of recyclable materials. 

BRAC has planned to facilitate organic fertilizer and biogas production from solid waste and establishing value chain with local scrap dealers for collecting recyclable materials from the host communities and camps. BRAC, along with other government and CSO organization is showing its commitment in ensuring a better living condition for the Rohingyas and host communities. 

Md. Ashadudzaman Asad is the Senior Manager of the Climate Change Programme, BRAC. 

Abu Sadat Moniruzzaman Khan, is the Programme Head of the Climate Change Programme, BRAC. 

Md Bodruddoza Zion, is the Deputy Manager of the Climate Change Programme, BRAC.