Thousands of tons of garbage are generated in and around Dhaka everyday, but what happens to all this trash? For most of Dhaka’s dwellers, the fate of their trash is not a matter of grave concern. But if one was to look, what she would find are numerous “garbage gangs” that are intent on turning our trash into their profit.
During a field investigation it was found that rubbish materials have become a lucrative but illegal business for many people. The collectors of wastage materials operate a black market which runs mostly at night for obvious reasons. A large number of syndicates are involved in this black business due to the lack of concentrated efforts on the part of the authorities.
According to an official of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) report, everyday approximately 2200 – 2500 tons of waste is collected from around Dhaka city (the amount varies from season to season). Half of this waste is being dumped in the landfills around the city and the rest goes to the black market. According to the DCC regulations on waste management, all the trash should make it to the landfills as there is no central recycling system.
Interestingly it is found that the trash trade is controlled by very powerful people, and there is little effort on the part of the authorities to bring the situation under control.
The authorities have no clear idea of how much money is being generated in the garbage business every year. Through independent field studies, it has been estimated that approximately 250 crore Taka is made every year.
A night visit to the central garbage dump near Dhanmondi Lake will ensure the sight of many waste traffickers, scavenging for reusable, resalable goods. “We have been in this business for more than 13 years. We buy the waste and then resell it to Nimtoli in Old Dhaka which is the biggest market place for the waste business” said a garbage buyer by the name of Abdur Rahman.
“The main buyers of this waste, have their own shop in Nimtoli which is called as ‘vangari dokan’ (shop of broken goods).They sell the plastic waste to Islambag plastic Industry, papers to Nilkhate book sellers, bottles made of tin to Jinjira and many other places. Tin bottles are sold at high rates,” he adds.
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