Bangladesh is the eighth most populous and tenth most densely populated country in the world. As a result, the problem of proper waste management is growing in tandem with the growing population of the country. At present, the amount of waste generated in Bangladesh is about 22.4 million tons per year, i.e. 150 kilograms per capita. This rate is constantly increasing. If this continues, in 2025, about 46,084 tons of waste will be generated daily. This will increase the per capita rate to 220 kilograms. As a result, it is now necessary to take initiative in proper waste management.
Waste management is an integrated system of waste collection, transportation, processing, recycling and disposal. Inadequacy of modern and safe waste disposal system is one of the environmental problems of Bangladesh. In the process of unplanned urbanization, houses, businesses and industries have sprung up. In most of these infrastructures, there is no modern and scientifically sound waste disposal system. As a result, large quantities of household waste are being dumped here and there every day. Solid waste removal systems are also extremely fragile. Waste material is piled up here and there on the side of the road, and it decomposes and seriously pollutes the air.
In the monsoon season, the situation becomes more dire. The dustbin overflows and solid waste falls into the roadside drain, completely disrupting the sewerage system. Waste management is becoming more complex due to population growth. Huge amounts of household waste are constantly being dumped here and there from the homes of countless people living in crowds. In addition, huge amounts of solid and liquid waste from open spaces are constantly complicating waste management.
At present, the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture and the use of aluminum foil packaged food containers in modern life is increasing the scope of complete waste management. As a result, pathogenic bacteria and toxic metals continue to cause serious damage to public health and the environment. We are constantly surrounded by such significant wastes – municipal waste, commercial and industrial waste, biodegradable and indigestible waste, kitchen waste, nuclear waste, etc. The level of environmental pollution caused by these wastes has increased at an alarming rate. Air, water, etc. are being polluted by various chemical wastes including industrial wastes, medical wastes and animal wastes. This is having an impact on biodiversity. Adverse effects on the climate. Climate change is causing complex and difficult diseases of various animals.
Just as the global environment is deteriorating rapidly, so has Bangladesh deteriorated over the past few decades. Air pollution kills 6 million people worldwide every year. Ninety-one percent of the world’s population lives in areas where air pollution levels are higher than those approved by the World Health Organization. Nine out of every 10 people in the world consume polluted air. Lack of proper waste management is a major cause of air pollution in our country. Air pollution causes various respiratory diseases, such as sneezing, coughing, shortness of breath, runny nose, chronic bronchitis, heart attack and cancer. In addition to air pollution, waste mismanagement is reducing soil productivity. Which changes the quality of the soil including soil erosion and weakens its bonding. Both erosion and soil removal make the soil increasingly infertile. It also destroys the balance of the natural ecosystem.
Water pollution is constantly occurring from household waste, industrial and agricultural wastes and human and animal excreta. Acids, pesticides, oils and various toxins used in industry can destroy aquatic animals and plants. Phosphate, chemical fertilizers, soap products and feces contaminate water by providing excessive nutrients to aquatic animals and plants. This causes a lack of oxygen in the water. Industrial and municipal waste is also polluting the rivers and water bodies of Bangladesh.
Different types of waste management strategies are currently being applied in the developed world. One of them is the full use of waste. Animal feed is again being produced from animal waste. No harmful effects are observed on animal feed produced from livestock waste after a certain level. For example, up to 50 percent of poultry can easily take a liter of food. Consumption of up to 20% of meat from poultry waste does not adversely affect cow’s milk production, and at the same time reduces the demand for meat in new foods, thus reducing costs. Composting is one of the means of proper management of livestock waste. The application of the produced compost on agricultural land increases the yield of such crops on the one hand, while reducing the cost of chemical fertilizers on the other. It also plays a role in increasing fertility.
Apart from this, biogas production is one of the ways to utilize livestock waste. Biogas plants are the easiest source of fuel and energy in rural environments. Through this the harmful effects of antibiotics are reduced and the organic manure produced increases the fertility of the land. Above all, proper and scientific management of livestock waste creates new employment opportunities. But unfortunately, no modern and scientific measures are taken for livestock waste management in Bangladesh. About 90% of the total livestock waste generated in Bangladesh is used for fuel. As a result, on the one hand, it has become a threat to the environment, on the other hand, farmers are being deprived of the economic benefits earned through proper waste management.
Proper management of livestock waste is possible only by veterinarians. The role of veterinarians in managing livestock waste in a modern and scientific way is undeniable. Their production is opening new horizons in the management of livestock waste. Research grants given to veterinarians in this sector will help prevent environmental pollution through modern and safe disposal management of livestock waste and transform every city and village in the country into a clean, livable, environmentally friendly city.
In addition to animal waste management, various waste management initiatives should be taken in Bangladesh at present, especially in urban areas. Dhaka City Corporation and Japan International Corporation Agency have adopted a master plan for solid waste management in Dhaka. Social Business Enterprise West Concern is doing management work at the home level. UNICEF has begun work on waste recycling and control in city corporations and urban areas. Nevertheless, these initiatives are inadequate in the selection of waste management, especially in industrial waste and hospital waste management. Due to this, waste is now being understood and endangering the normal functioning of the ecosystem. Dealing with waste has now become one of the challenges in protecting the environment. So, interest should be created towards renewable organic waste management.
There are two things about waste. The first is that today’s waste is tomorrow’s resource. And the second is – garbage is cash. Evidence of this is found in developed countries. In Sweden and Norway, for example, waste is being processed and converted into usable materials, and the business is highly profitable there. Around this, they are also importing waste from other countries.
Waste processing time demands. The whole world is concerned about the impact of man-made waste on the climate. The United Nations has taken various steps to reduce the impact of waste on the climate. Their programs include climate resilience in all countries, strengthening resilience and adaptability to natural disasters, integrating climate change into national policies, strategies and plans, mitigating climate change, adaptation, mitigation, and education and awareness building, and human and institutional capacity building, etc.
In the overall situation, like the developed countries of the world, Bangladesh should also take various initiatives in waste management. Waste or waste should be conserved, neutralized, deactivated or processed by the concerned organization and various new things should be made suitable for use. The people of the country will benefit economically as well as the environment.
The Writer is studying at Dept. of Environmental Science and Engineering in Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University Trishal, Mymensingh, Bangladesh