Dirty and proud?

Sadiqur Rahman reveals why most newly placed waste bins across the two Dhaka city corporations are usually empty though trash can be found all around them

DirtyResponding to a long-standing demand for better waste management in Dhaka city, city corporation authorities of the two parts of Dhaka recently initiated a project to place around 10 thousand trash bins along the city streets.
So far, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) has placed four thousand bins against the estimated number of 5,700 at many roadside footpaths of its constituency while the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) has 700 bins. The DNCC authority is hoping that the rest of the estimated bins will be in place by the end of this month. Initially, the bins were placed at the busy footpaths and crowded locations.
In line with the Clean Dhaka Master Plan and National 3R (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) Strategy of Bangladesh, the city authorities are implementing this environment friendly waste management project to help citizens dispose of municipal waste in an organised manner. Earlier, the city authorities had noticed that citizens were throwing waste on the streets due to lack of adequate street bins.
However, the timely initiative is yet to see remarkable changes on the streets as some citizens often show indifference to drop the waste materials into the bins. Recently, New Age Xtra found many empty street bins hanging on the stands while the surrounding areas were littered with waste materials like polypack of food items, scraps of food, trash paper, used tissue paper, plastic water bottle, broken plastics etcetera. Such trash usually causes problems for the city’s drainage system during monsoon.
Waste management authorities of the city corporations claim that the perception popular among the citizens is that the city corporation is the sole responsible service provider to keep the city clean.
On May 10, New Age Xtra found a father accompanying his two kids from school to home. One of the children threw scraps of food just beneath the street bin, although her height was more than that of the bin and she could have easily dropped it into it. When asked politely about the reason, the angry father says that she is just a child and throwing waste at roadside is not a serious crime.
The father, who kept his identity hidden, however tells New Age Xtra that the kids were often suggested to keep their homes clean.
He says, ‘Any place outside the home is not a matter of concern for them. The city corporation is there. We pay tax so that the city corporation cleaners sweep the streets and remove waste materials.’
On the contrary, there are citizens who feel responsible to clean their surrounding areas even if the place is outside their homes. Two college friends Farukh and Tasnuva were having a meal at Farmgate around evening on May 9. When Tasnuva subconsciously threw banana peel beside her, 10 yards away from the nearest bin, Farukh got up, picked the peel and put it into the bin.
Farukh says, ‘If there is a bin near us, we should throw the trash there. It is our duty to keep this city clean.’
Confessing her irresponsibility, Tasnuva admits that citizens of Dhaka should follow the habit as it is practiced all over the civilised cities in the world.
Captain Bipan Kumar Saha, the chief waste management officer of DNCC, shares that citizens avoiding civic duties like keeping the city clean often escape tax payment. He regrets, ‘Ignoring all kinds of civic duty is a very common tendency of some citizens.’
Bipan says, ‘There are directions to punish irresponsible people throwing waste arbitrarily. But we prefer warning them before trying.’ He adds that the city authority will conduct vast campaign to motivate citizens to use street bins properly just after completion of the development works.
Captain Raquib Uddin, the chief waste management officer of the DSCC, tells New Age Xtra, ‘This is the first major initiative in the city. There were no street bins before. So it will take time for the citizens to change their bad habit.’
Bipan and Raquib both inform New Age Xtra that the city corporation authorities have plans to initiate awareness building programme through religious preachers (Imam), teachers of educational institutions, cultural activists and political representatives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *