It is unfortunate that a landfill in Aminbazar on the outskirts of Dhaka, run by Dhaka North City Corporation, does not have any environmental clearance. A photo published in The Daily Star on September 16 showed how indiscriminate dumping of all types of waste, including plastic materials and polythene, in the 50-acre waste station has been polluting the environment and the two nearby rivers—Buriganga and Turag. It is simply not understandable why the Dhaka North City Corporation would run a waste station without the permission of the relevant authorities.
Over the years, heaps of garbage have been piled up in the landfill, spilling over into the adjacent areas and the waterbodies, eventually polluting Turag and Buriganga. Needless to say, the situation will worsen further if a proper waste management system is not put in place. What is most alarming is the amount of plastic materials and polythene that have been dumped there. Although Bangladesh was the first country in the world to impose a ban on using polythene in 2002, the ban was never enforced, resulting in its indiscriminate use. Degradation of the environment due to the increasing amount of plastic waste and polythene has been a major issue in the country since most of these plastic materials are not biodegradable.
According to the Earth Day Network of USA (2018), Bangladesh is the 10th most plastic polluting country in the world. Bangladesh generates around 381.36 tonnes of plastic waste every day while around 249.86 tonnes go to landfills. Reportedly, around three lakh tonnes of plastic waste are dumped into water bodies and open places each year. Such plastic debris has serious negative impacts on our marine resources, particularly fisheries. The death of a sperm whale in Indonesia last year, which had nearly six kilogrammes of plastic wastes in its stomach, is a case we should take note of.
While we commend the parliamentary committee for taking note of the situation in the Aminbazar landfill and directing the authorities to take action against the DNCC, we also think it is time the government put a sustainable waste management system in place. Initiatives should be taken by the government and non-government institutions to promote environment-friendly alternatives of plastics and for proper recycling of plastic goods.