Waste vitiates city environment

Read the main article on The Daily Star

Neither it is a dumping spot nor the untrotted dead end of a lane, but a busy road in the city’s Farmgate intersection which thousands of people pass by or gather on to catch public transport and do low-cost shopping.

But the restaurants, snack shops, and other businesses discard their daily garbage at this specific place — a commercial hub — since there is no dustbin in the area for years. There are around eight restaurants, more than 15 food outlets and hundreds of other shops.

It is the starting point of Bir Uttam Maj Gen (retd) KM Shafiullah Road (Green Road) at the southwest side of Farmgate stretching southward till Sajal Square — the intersection of Panthapath and Green Road.

One finds that the spot is used to dispose of small amount of paper and other dry waste in the day while the garbage from restaurants is thrown in huge quality at night.

Owners and staff of the restaurants, food stores and others categorically admit their dumping of food waste, paper and polythene. However, the hotel owners say they only throw waste after evening.

Most people on the hectic thoroughfare usually walk bypassing the spot while some others obviously put handkerchief on their nose.

Asif Khan, who passes the area everyday on his way to office at Panthapath, said, “I just try to ignore. It’s nothing new in Dhaka.”

Green Road resident Farzana Neepa expressed her frustration since this obnoxious problem is left unresolved for years. “It must be kept clean throughout the day considering the number of people gathering here,” she said.

The city corporation vehicles come once a day — usually after midnight — and collect the waste. But the spot soon turns into an open dumping ground for the rest of the time.

Earlier there had been two dustbins in the area installed 20 years ago — one small concrete-made and another portable. But none lasted for long due to objection from different quarters. The cemented dustbin was erected in front of the Bata store some 15 years back but was later dismantled.

The other — locals say placed in 1998 — was shifted several times from one spot to another within this area but some time later disappeared.

A similar initiative was taken during the previous caretaker regime, but it did not work as three dividers were put up in front of Ananda Cinema Hall to allow buses of different routes move easily.

The corner-most lane, along the dumping spot, was meant to be used by double-decker BRTC buses which made officials rethink a possible position for a dustbin in the future. And the matter remains still in a limbo.

At least five fruit sellers and two snack shops in front of the Ananda cinema hall building perhaps have no option but to throw wastes at that place even in day time when the shopkeepers of garment and other businesses follow them.

The place turns more unhygienic when street urchins collect recycleable objects from the dumping spot.

But now everyone in the area including Taslim Ahmed, an official at the Bata store, say they want a dustbin at the same place the waste is being dumped now.

“The shifting of the previous dustbins took place as the spots were not determined properly,” Taslim added.

Farmgate Hotel and Restaurant Manager Anup Saha said the government should have been stricter to manage garbage in this busy area. “It’s not acceptable that this area remains littered with waste emitting odour when thousands of people gather and pass through it,” he said.

Operators of New Star Hotel and another adjacent unnamed hotel, both close to the spot, said they dump their waste at the spot in the night only and at day time, rickshaw-vans come to collect their rubbish.

Twenty-seven-year-old Md Jamir, who sells shoes on the divider adjacent to the dumping spot, said the bad odour does not bother them much. “We’re poor people. It (smell) can’t strike us anymore.”

Local businessmen say the problem may ease only if a dustbin is constructed at the spot and DCC trucks or vans come more frequently so that waste does not get piled up there.

Asked, officials at the DCC (north) regional office at Karwan Bazar suggested that the shopkeepers and local people should discuss the matter among themselves to find a way. Then the authorities may take a step.


1 Comment

  1. Currently, 2,700 thousand tonnes of 4000 tonnes of daily garbage are being reserved in two sanitary land fields in the city for implementing the project. About 800 tonnes of the rest 1300 tonnes of garbage are being recycled for different uses.


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