An experience sharing meeting was held at the SPS (local NGO) meeting room on May 23, 2012. Civil society group and ward commissioner (16) was present at the sharing meeting to discuss about the issue of community based solid waste management at KCC. 10 years back SPS (a local NGO) started their activity on house to house solid waste collection and its safe disposal with support from a National NGO, Prism-Bangladesh. In the beginning, community people disagreed to pay for house to house solid waste collection, but later on community people were motivated to pay 10 taka per month. Now SPS has covered 3-wards in KCC (ward no. 9, 14 and 16). Figure 1 shows household solid waste is collecting through a plastic container and transferring waste to the van at ward no. 16 of KCC area. From the last few years (5-7 years), SPS has been suffering from financial crisis as donor support is stopped after completing of the project period in 2005. Now peri-urabn project is supporting the organization for developing a sustainable community based solid waste management system at Chhoto Boira for saving the river Moyur from solid waste pollution by the community households.
Figure 1: House to house solid waste collection system developed by a local NGO SPS at ward no. 16 of the KCC area.
IWFM has been working in Khulna on peri-urban water security issue, financially supported by the IDRC, from the year 2010; and found that solid waste is one of the main sources of water pollution in Khulna. The river Moyur is only the freshwater river in Khulna which is shared by both the urban and peri-urban residents. However, this river is almost dead due to solid and liquid waste dumping from the KCC. Ecological services of this river have largely reduced due to pollution and encroachment. As a part of our peri-urban research project, we realized the importance of this river in Khulna and discussed the matter through a multi-stakeholder platform (KDA, KCC, WASA, DoE, NGOs, Civil Society groups, KU and KUET) to save the Moyur. The entire stakeholders conveyed that they have been debating since long to save the river but their attempts failed to save the river Moyur. Thus, as a part of action research project, IWFM, KU and ILS have decided to develop a community based solid waste management system at Chhoto Boira which could reduce solid waste dumping into the Moyur. Figure 2 shows a community sharing workshop has been conducted by ILS and SPS in Khulna. Based on the result, this activity will be replicated in other part of the Moyur for saving the river from pollution and degradation.
Figure 2: Dr. Hamidul Huq of ILS is conduction an experience sharing workshop on community participation in solid waste management in KCC, Khulna. (Phot: Mr. Nuruddin Md. Idris)
Executive Director of SPS, Mr. Alamgir Islam Lavlu said “we are now prepared to start our preliminary activity of waste collection and composting at Chhoto Boira peri-urban site with support from peri-urban project. We already have a van and two people to run the activity. From 1st June it will be started”. Community people said that KCC does not clean KCC’s drain on regular basis. Moreover, most of the residential housing developed by the KDA is not linked with the main drainage system KCC. Earthen drainage is filled up by solid waste dumping and sometime blocked by huge waste from informal tea stall and shops. Mr. Sazu has been living at Boikali area of KCC from more than ten years. He said people’s awareness is very low. Thus, community based group meeting and awareness program should be taken at each Mohollah’s of the city. Mr. Sazu also said that he will arrange venue at his house, if such program is arranged by the SPS. Mr. Lavlu said that they already covered 1600 households under their service and it will be increased if community people support them to run the minimum project cost. Mr. Lavlu said earlier that he started composting from organic solid waste but failed to sell compost fertilizer. He said they still have tons of organic fertilizer but could not sell it due absence of it buyer. Stakeholders of the meeting said that farmers always obey the agriculture officer. So, if we can motivate the agriculture officers to motivate the farmers for using compost, it would be easy to develop a market chain. In Khulna there are 17 NGOs who started their activities of community based solid waste management. But now only 4-5 NGOs are doing this job. Management of a community based solid waste project is becoming hard due to increase in cost for maintenance. A local ward commissioner Mrs. Memory Sufiya Rahman Sunnu said that it is impossible for KCC to serve the house to house collection system. But he told that they are developing communal dumping sites or first delivery point in the KCC. He hopes to serve better for the KCC people. He is of a opinion that it will be better if NGOs or Private agency take the lead role where KCC can support in different mode of action.
Figure 3: Newly developed composting plant at Chhoto Boira by a local NGO SPS with support from the IDRC supported peri-urban water security project.
Stakeholders of the meeting said that SPS is playing very good role in managing environment of the KCC but it was suggested that the program should include drainage cleaning service which will reduce mosquito and water logging problem in the KCC. The present tariff of solid waste collection has been fixed at Taka 30 per month from June 2012. The leader of the SPS Mr. Lavlu said that he is trying to develop a community based tariff collection system forming a small committee in each ward. In the coming days, drain cleaning program on a regular schedule will be taken with discussion with the community leader.
Community based solid waste management would be a popular program in Khulna which could save the rivers and natural water bodies from pollution and degradation. Besides, solid waste management is also important for saving public health and clean environment in the cities. Development of a sustainable community based solid waste management system is thus very challenging.