Lack of proper measures, including designated spots, manpower and equipment for dumping garbage, has made the Gazipur City Corporation area an open trash bin as people dump wastes everywhere they can – the highways, roadsides, playing grounds.
The 330 sq-km city corporation area with a population of around 40 lakh and many industrial establishments is facing terrible environmental consequences, including health hazards, due to the situation.
Piles of garbage can be found everywhere alongside the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway from Tongi to Chandna intersection. The picture is the same in the Shibbari road, Bhogra bypass, Telipara, Konabari, and Joydebpur areas.
Residents alleged that the authorities have failed to improve the air quality of the city. Now, it is becoming unlivable day by day due to poor waste management.
Md Kauser, a resident of the Teknag Para area, said, "Garbage is being dumped along the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway in an unplanned way. As a result, the four-lane highway has narrowed down to one lane on one side. Many vehicles have to move through the garbage. The situation is also causing accidents."
"Local people including students and Muslim worshippers of nearby mosques have to walk covering their noses with handkerchiefs due to the bad smell. When it rains, dirty water mixed with garbage comes into the residential area," he added.
Md Abdus Salam from the Naojor area said, "Various establishments including residential houses and shops are located in the area along the Dhaka-Tangail highway. But how garbage is being dumped here does not follow any rules and regulations. It is very difficult to live in an area like this."
According to people concerned, the city corporation has no place of its own for waste management. That is why garbage is being dumped at various places on the roads and highways temporarily which are later taken to the Bymile area by the corporation's car.
A responsible source in the city corporation said that the problem will not be solved until a permanent place for dumping garbage is fixed. "We are searching for a place to dump the garbage. Currently, about 4,000 to 7,500 tonnes of garbage is being discharged from Gazipur City every day. Of this, 2,500 tonnes of garbage is collected by the city corporation," the source said.
"At present, garbage is being collected from open spaces and then dumped in the Kadda-Bymile area. The corporation has around 300 workers and 100 vehicles for waste management," added the source.
SM Sohrab Hossain, chief waste management officer of Gazipur City Corporation, told The Business Standard, "We do not have enough manpower and equipment. Since there is no specific place, garbage is being dumped everywhere. However, recently, a Chinese company has been given the responsibility for waste management. They will set up a permanent dumping station in the Shimultali area. They will also produce fuel and electricity in that station. Land acquisition works for the project is in progress."
Asadur Rahman Kiran, acting mayor of Gazipur City Corporation, said, "The government has allotted 100 bighas of land to the city corporation for waste management. However, there is no secondary transfer station (STS) in any of the 57 wards of Gazipur. The authorities have asked for spaces from the councillors to build STSs. If these STSs are built, there will be a permanent solution for waste management."