Waste management, urban resilience and climate change
Urban Resilience and
Until recently, environment was not an issue in a developing
country like Bangladesh and waste management was
definitely not the prime concern of environmentalists and
the government, when the awakening to the issue finally did
happen. It is only in very recent times, when certain NGO’s
started working and highlighting the pathetic state of
municipal waste services provision in the country, that the
decision makers realized the importance of this particular
aspect of environmental management.
Dhaka city is facing serious environmental degradation and public-health risk due to
uncollected disposal of waste on streets and other public areas, clogged drainage system
by indiscriminately dumped wastes and by contamination of water resources near
uncontrolled dumping sites.
Impact of Solid Waste Disposal on
Open air dumping creates unhygienic and poses enormous
threat to the people.
Causes aesthetic problem and nuisance due to nauseating
Promotes spreading of diseases.
The situation further aggravated by the indiscriminate disposal
of Hospital and Clinical Waste.
Presence of extremely high level of Total and Facial coliform.
Pollute water bodies.
Carbon dioxide and Methane produced from solid waste are
extremely harmful to the environment.
Steps Taken by Dhaka City Corporation
Giving permission of PCSP (Primary Collection Service Provider)/ door to door
waste collection from household /Van services.
Collect solid waste from domestic, business, hospital, street, public toilets
Provide dustbins and other receptacles for accumulating the waste.
DNCC cleaners clean the roads, drains and sewerage lines.
Collection and transportation of medical waste.
Development of hospital waste landfill
Development of sanitary landfill
Manage the private solid waste management and NGO based solid waste
Dhaka is one of the most densely populated city in the country, perhaps
in the whole world. But it wasn’t that dense 3 decades ago. The influx
has been happened mainly due to affect of climate change and natural
disasters. Historically a major portion of south-west of Bangladesh is
single cropped. But due to increasing salinity at the ground and scarcity
of irrigation water has negatively impacted agricultural production and
the farmers and agricultural wage labors have lost their livelihood
thereby. On the other hand, the coastal belt is highly vulnerable to
natural disasters. Once a disaster hits, the affected population doesn’t
have immediate recovery and restoration of their livelihoods. These two
groups of people eventually migrate to the large cities, in most cases to
Dhaka for survival without knowing the opportunities much.
Some Key Aspects of Dhaka
Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital - rapidly urbanizing megacity in a most
densely populated and poorest country.
30% of total population live in slum settlements.
Tenure insecurity/ evictions; gang lords - exorbitant rents and charges
for basic services.
Poor quality and densely built housing; basic public infrastructure
non-existent or very limited.
Flooding and water-logging, due to poor drainage; windstorms;
earthquake risk - unplanned urbanization and sub-standard building;
urban fires, often believed to be ignited intentionally; climate change
impacts already evident.
Water, sanitation and hygiene condition for the slum dwellers are critical. They
suffer from lack of pure drinking water, sewerage system, latrines, etc.
Reproductive health services is also inadequate in spite the government has very
strong commitment to address these issues.
Government should take necessary steps
The short term employment schemes like cash for work and food for
work is not promoted to the urban poor people whilst enormous
opportunity remains. This ‘neo urban’ population can be utilized for
maintenance of public utilities such as drains and ponds cleaning, road
repairing and maintenance, latrine construction, etc. Also, they can be
provided with micro and small enterprise development opportunities.
Government has to ensure essential services to the urban slum dwellers.
These people have very lower voice to raise. But the role of civil society
needs to be stronger and they should be particular in raising the issues
for the urban poor rather than creating lucrative national agenda.
Climate change in Bangladesh
Climate change in Bangladesh is
an extremely crucial issue and
Geographic, Bangladesh ranks first
as the nation most vulnerable to
the impacts of climate change in
the coming decades.
It is projected that, by 2020, from 500 to 750 million people
will be affected by water stress caused by climate change
around the world. Low-lying coastal regions, such as
Bangladesh, are vulnerable to sea level rise and increased
occurrence of intense, extreme weather conditions such as
the cyclones from 2007–2009. In most countries like
Bangladesh, yields from rain fed agriculture could be
reduced to 50% by 2020. For a country with
increasing population and hunger, this will have an
extremely adverse effect on food security.
Climate change threatens the agricultural economy which
although counts for just 20% of GDP, contributes to over half
the population’s labor force. In 2007 after a series of floods
and cyclone Sidr, food security was severely threatened.
Given the country’s infrastructure and disaster response
mechanisms, the food yield situation got worse. The loss of
rice production was estimated at around 2 million metric
tons (MT) which could potentially feed 10 million people.
This was the single most important catalyst in the 2008 price
increase which led to around 15 million people going without
much food. This was further worsened by cyclone Ailla.
National and International Policies
In an effort to be a ‘Middle Income Country’ by 2021, the
techniques, surface water infrastructure irrigation, effective
fisheries and promoting poultry and dairy development.
Biofuels fit into this scenario by acting as machinery fuel as
in 2006 the Ministry of Agriculture provided 30% subsidy for
diesel to run irrigation for farming, further proposing 7,750
million BDT fiscal disbursement to help almost a million
farmers with machinery fuel.
Foreign Aid and Funding
Various countries have pledged to provide funding for adaptation and
mitigation in developing nations, such as Bangladesh. The accord
committed up to $30 billion of immediate short term funding from
developed to developing countries to support their action in climate
change mitigation. This funding is available for developing nations
to build their capacity to reduce and respond to impacts of climate
The private sector of Bangladesh alone contributes more than 85% of
current investments for a low carbon economy. In order to maximize any
future contributions from this sector, the public sector needs to
overcome the political and bureaucratic barriers the private sector has
to face towards a low carbon future.