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Dhaka Tribune

Speakers: Mass awareness a must to manage waste properly

A well managed waste system can lead to various benefits including the generation of power, they said

Update : 24 Oct 2019, 09:15 PM

Policymakers and experts have emphasized on the need for creating mass awareness to make people understand the value of well-planned waste management system in Bangladesh.

A well-managed waste system can lead to various benefits including the generation of power, they said. 

They were addressing Bangladesh-Japan Waste-to-Energy Workshop at a hotel in Dhaka on Thursday, 

Local Government, Rural Development (LGRD) and Cooperatives Ministry, and Japan’s Environment Ministry jointly organized the workshop.

Addressing the event as the chief guest, LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Md Tazul Islam said the government is trying to manage waste to a maximum level across the country, for which the masses can play a broader role.

“If people are careless about waste management, it will remain an uphill task to completely succeed in the job. In order to reap the most benefits, there is no alternative to public awareness,” he said.

Citing that the government is more focused on the cities and metropolis, he said: “We are trying to manage the waste gradually in rural areas, but it will take time.” 

People will take more interest in managing waste well, if they understand the economic viability of garbage when transformed into electricity, the minister added.

Though the government is keen to build public awareness to this end, land scarcity for dumping waste remains a major obstacle, he said.

In addition, for making the process of collecting waste, suitable and easier for power generation, people have to segregate waste at home, he opined.

LGRD Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed, who chaired the occasion said, land scarcity is a reason for loopholes in the waste management system. 

“Then again, a proactive role from the masses on the issue can be immensely handy,” he added. 

Insisting on engaging masses in the process, Local Government Division’s Additional Secretary Md Mahbub Hossain said, citizens of the country can help ease waste management to a large extent.

The ministry is yet to formulate a national strategy on generating electricity from waste, he said.

“We have asked the Japanese authorities to draft a waste management master plan,” he maintained. 

Shigemoto Kajihara, former vice minister for Global Environment Affairs at Japanese environment ministry, said: “It’s impossible to ensure proper waste management if there is no positive participation of people.”

He suggested participation of businesses and private sector, to help reduce waste generation. 

Recalling Japan’s 20-year-old role in waste management in Bangladesh, Kajihara pledged that his country will continue working on waste management in Bangladesh.  

A 2018 Waste Concern study found that nearly 4,500 tons of household wastes are produced daily in Dhaka, but its two city corporations claimed the amount was 500 tons less.

Dhaka North City Corporation’s Chief Waste Management Officer Md Manzur Hossain told the workshop that they manage up to 80% of the waste.

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