ノースサウス大学環境科学管理額部長 教授 ATM Nurul Amin
WASTE CONCERN共同創設者 Abu Hasnat Md.Maqsood Sinha, Iftekhar Enayetullah
Bangladesh's Environmental Challenge and the Structure of Policy Response
ATM Nurul Amin, PhD
Professor and Dean
Department of Environmental Science & Management
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
North South University, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Bangladesh's environmental challenge fundamentally arises from its geographic location and demographic fundamentals. It is a small country of 147,570 sq km located in a deltaic region with a coastal belt of 580 km, along the turbulent coastline of the Bay of Bengal. The country's population has climbed to 142.32 million with the double blessings of (a) fertile land (which has allowed necessary food production, although natural disasters do create shortage from time to time) and (b) continuous decline in mortality rate (resulting from progress in medical science and improved disaster management). This huge population is still growing at a rate of 1.3 percent, which means that 1.8 million people are added every year to the already huge population base. The country has long been primarily a rural-agricultural economy which has been undergoing structural changes in recent decades. The GDP contribution from the agricultural sector decreased from 33% in 1980 to 22% in 2006.The employment share of the agricultural sector has also declined from 61% in 1980 to 43.6% in 2009. Industrial sector's share to GDP grew from 17% in 1980 to 29%. The big change has occurred in the share of the service sector to employment. It has increased from 30.3% in 1980 to 40.8% in 2006. Unfortunately, this increase in the service sector is largely comprised of low-productive service occupations (e.g., the informal sector, which comprises nearly 80% of the national economy). This is evident in the fact that the share of the service sector to GDP remains almost unchanged to 49% (between 1980 to 2006) despite about 10% plus growth in employment in the service sector. During this period, GDP share of the service sector increased by less than one percent, which is a clear indication that the service sector is largely comprised of numerous petty low productive services. The combined effects of the country's geography, demography and economy have made Bangladesh one of the least developed countries (LDC) of the world with a per capita income of only $755.
Mounting Environmental Problems
Contrary to the historical trend on the relationship between level of economic development and urbanization among countries at different level of development, Bangladesh's level of urbanization is disproportionately higher than its level of development. At a mere 755 dollar per capita income, more than 27% of its population live in urban areas. Thus, the country can be viewed as overurbanized. For understanding the implications of overurbanization for quality of living in cities one need to transform this 27% of urban population into absolute number which is 38.45 million. The huge size of national as well as urban population have created a large pool of urban labour force that continues to grow because of (i) natural growth of population, (ii) rural to urban migration and (iii) geographical expansion of urban areas around the large cities like Dhaka. The labour absorptive capacity of the formal sector however is limited. As a result, more than two-third of urban labour force work in the informal sector and live in informal housing in the squatter and slum settlements. The low wage rate of the formal sector workers and low earnings in the informal sector occupations (e.g., rickshaw driving, resource recovery from waste, brick-breaking in the construction sites, hawkers and petty traders) leave a large number of urban population without basic urban environmental services such as access to water, sanitation, drainage & sewerage. Most of these people live in extremely degraded environment. Meanwhile, inadequate urban environmental infrastructure and services for water & power supply, drainage & sewage, road network, public transport and wastewater treatment facilities are posing serious challenge for urban policy, planning and management. The free market system, coupled with democracy, also limits the scope of using development controls, stopping encroachments to natural water bodies such as ponds, canals, and river or dumping of wastes and draining of untreated wastewater and effluents to these water bodies. Hospital, industrial, hazardous and electronic wastes are also rapidly rising. Although increase in CNG use as fuel for vehicles has reduced air pollution from vehicular emissions, widespread reliance on old vehicles and traffic congestions are increasing urban air pollutions. Industrial pollutions are also increasing. One common sight is black smokes from brickfields around big cities.
Structure of Environmental Policy and Management System
The environmental policies of Bangladesh are comprised of certain rules, regulations, guidelines and standards. Most of these are formulated and implemented centrally by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF). There is no environmental protection agency (EPA) as such. The Forest Department of Bangladesh (FDB) and the Department of Environment (DoE) are the two departments which essentially serve as environmental protection agency. The DoE, established in 1977 under the Environment Pollution Control Ordinance 1977, serves as the technical wing of MoEF and is statutorily responsible for the implementation of the government's environmental policy that has been outlined through the National Environmental Policy (NEP) 1992 and the Environmental Conservation Act (ECA) 1995. The latter repealed the 1977 official regulatory framework to control, prevent and abate pollution. The ECA 1995 essentially is a "command and control" type regulation with no provision of economic incentives and disincentive measures for promoting compliance. As a follow up of ECA 1995, the government set the Environmental Conservation Rules (ECR) 1997. Critiques of ECR 1997 include (a) all sectors are not covered, (b) standards for necessary parameters are not set and (c) absence of technical specification to be required for chemicals, consumables and ETPs.
Environmental policy, planning and management failures, as reflected in widespread violations of development controls, encroachment of commercial projects to natural water bodies (ponds, canals and rivers) and open dumping of solid wastes (including clinical and hazardous) and draining of wastewater (including effluents) directly to the land and water bodies have created an environmental wrought, particularly in the urban areas. Unfortunately public policy response to these problems are either absent, slow or ineffective. Local level environmental policies are largely related to policies on water & sanitation and waste disposal. Municipal authorities (in certain instances specialized service agencies such as Water and Sewerage Authority WASA exist) are responsible for crucial urban environmental services.
Urgent Tasks Ahead Level for Strengthening Environmental Policies
The national level environmental policies need to be revamped for (a) integrating and simultaneous use of regulatory measures, incentive measures and educational measures so that behavioral change can be targeted to play on human mind's fear elements (by regulatory measures) economic interests (by economic incentives and disincentives) and moral & ethics sense (by raising awareness through education & training).
Strengthening Local Government:
For overcoming the huge deficit in environmental infrastructure and services, the local government authorities need to be strengthened by giving authority to (i) tax incremental urban land and property values, (ii) levy user charges and (iii) attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to construct hugely costly water supply network, drainage & sewerage systems, environmentally sustainable transport including mass transit, wastewater treatment facilities, etc. The local government authorities need to be strengthened also to create jobs for building pedestrian and bicycle ways, planting and watering trees for greening and cleaning the environment. Such programmes bear the potential of creating a virtuous circle in the poverty-environment nexus (i.e., poverty will be reduced and the environment will improve).
In short, Bangladesh needs a big push in its environmental strategies. The country has so far done well in social and development fields through NGOs, supported by the international donor communities. What is now needed is a two-prong strategy combining software (i.e., behavioral change targeted environmental policies) and hardware packages (building essential environmental infrastructure which bears potential to create a win-win scenario for reducing poverty and cleaning of the environment). Physical infrastructure also can positively influence people's behavior towards more sustainable environmental life-style and practices (e.g., availability of good pedestrian and bicycle ways can induce people to walk and bike). Similarly, availability of separate waste bins may induce people to segregate waste.
Abu Hasnat Md. Maqsood Sinha, (Left)
Iftekhar Enayetullah, (right)
Introduction of Waste Concern
Rapid increase of solid waste and problem of its management has become a serious concern for Bangladesh. Rapid growth of population, increasing urbanization and intensifying economic activities have all contributed to the generation of huge amount of solid waste in the urban areas of Bangladesh. Urban areas of Bangladesh today generate 17,000 tons of waste every day. The World Bank predicts that, in 2025, Bangladesh will generate 47,000 tonnes of waste daily in urban areas. Municipal authorities responsible to manage urban waste are already overburdened, and simply cannot provide satisfactory services with their conventional system. With a collection efficiency of 50%, municipal service of the city is already over burdened, and failed to provide satisfactory services. As a result uncollected waste lies on roadsides, open drains, low-lying areas, thus contributing to the deteriorating quality life and environment of these cities. Study shows that a large portion of organic matter (almost 80% of the waste composition in Bangladesh) with the potentials of converting it into compost or soil conditioner remains totally unrecognized and unutilized. Lack of partnership between the stakeholders involved with waste generation, management, recycling and absence of proper waste management policy has further deteriorated the waste related problem.
In this backdrop, with the idea of `converting waste into resource', since 1995 Waste Concern has been tackling the problem of urban waste disposal in Bangladesh by developing a network of decentralized composting plants which are adapted to the local Bangladeshi context and financially self sufficient. With the concept of public-private and community partnership, Waste Concern brought together several stakeholders in a benefit loop. Waste Concern has been successfully tackling the problem of urban land scarcity and governmental intransigence in providing land for recycling centers, while trying to ensure a sufficient demand for the organic fertilizer produced by this approach. The Government has included composting and recycling for the first time in the National Safe Water and Sanitation Policy. A good indicator of the success of Waste Concern is the government's inclusion of composting and recycling in the National Safe Water and Sanitation Policy as well as in the National 3R Strategy for Waste Management. The government has also encouraged the promotion of source separation of waste since 2010.
Explanation of compost projects in Bangladesh with expansion to other Asian countries
Waste Concern's composting plants are producing compost fertilizer from organic portion of the urban waste. Fresh organic waste as an input for the composting plants are normally collected from households and vegetable markets. Waste is brought in a recycling center to process it into compost using aerobic method of compost. It takes less than 60 days to convert organic waste into compost using labor intensive low cost technology. Waste Concern's experience shows that from a ton of organic waste approximately 15%-20% end product compost can be produced and half a ton of green house gas methane can be reduced. Figure below shows how the composting facility reduce a significant portion of municipal waste and only 10-14% reject goes to the landfill site for final disposal.
So far, 47 replications of this model is being carried by others (External Support Agencies, Government, NGOs and private sectors) in 26 Towns of Bangladesh and 16 are coming up. Recently, the government of Bangladesh is replicating this model in 64 districts using programmatic approach under the Clean Development Mechanism.
Successful story of development of approved methodology for CDM
During 2003, for the first time the idea of carbon trading was initiated in Bangladesh with the support from UNDP. Waste Concern provided technical assistance to implement this project. The major aim was to assist Bangladesh to build its capacity for hosting Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects with emphasis on public-private partnership development. Its objective was to undertake a range of activities to formulate a country-driven initiative for development of capacity and institutional framework for Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in Bangladesh. This initiative had two main components:
- Policy guidelines and institutional framework for implementation of CDM in Bangladesh. One of the major success of this activity was the establishment of the Designated National Authority (DNA) for CDM in Bangladesh
- Development of baseline and preparation of business plan for landfill gas extraction project and its productive utilization.
Waste Concern has also developed the methodology to quantify amount of green house gas reduction through aerobic composting. The methodology is approved by the UNFCCC for claiming carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol using the Clean Development Mechanism (AM 0025).
Using the aforementioned methodology, Waste Concern has established globally first a Joint Venture Company Composting Project in Bangladesh using carbon financing at no cost to the government attracting foreign direct investment worth Euro 12 million. This plant is operational since 2008 and commercially producing compost and reducing green house gas.
Development of new working opportunity for local people,
Waste Concern's model has created a new job opportunity for the poor in Bangladesh. This model has also created opportunity for scaling up and real investment using Public Private Partnership in waste sector using carbon trading. It has also connected all stakeholders (community, private sector, informal sector, government sector, poor farmers, NGOs and research bodies etc.) linked with project in a benefit loop.
For example, so far from January 2009 to September 2010, the CDM based compost plant in Dhaka operated by Waste Concern has processed 65-90 tons of organic waste every day. Some statistics of this project is shown below:
- The cumulative amount of organic waste processed during this period was 33,133 tons and 4000 tons of compost was produced from this organic waste.
- During this period the plant reduced 10800 Co2eq emissions.
- This facility has created 150 direct jobs for the poor both in the compost plant and transport of waste and distribution of compost.
- The project is providing free meal, day care center and free health checkup with medication for all workers.
- Served 141,452 people (including urban population getting free waste collection service and farmers using compost).
- Poor farmers can improve their soil condition by applying compost in the solid.
- Informal sector are getting opportunity to work in a better and safe working environment.
- Community and citizen are happy to get rid of their waste quickly.
- Unmanaged waste is now managed in a environmentally sound and healthy way.
- It saved Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) about USD 1.05 million budget (Considering USD 32 per ton of SWM management cost of DCC).
- By diverting waste to the compost plant it has reduced the amount of waste to landfilled in a unhygienic way.
Development of market of compost (application of the compost to neighbor agricultural lands),
Compost produced from compost plant is sold to experienced private marketing company called ACI Limited with a nation-wide distribution channel. Recently, Waste Concern's compost has been approved by the government as a brand called `Waste Concern Jaiba Sar' after its compliance with compost standard and field trials conducted by the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute. Experience shows that using this compost farmer can produce more crops with less investment. The secret of popularity of product is strict quality control of composting process and compost along with regular supply of the product to the costumer at the right time.
Cooperation with others including UNCRD, MOEJ and Japanese NGOs (Lions Club)
In 1998 with the support from UNDP Waste Concern first replicated its model in 5 areas of Dhaka city and after success of this project UNICEF supported Waste Concern to replicate the model in more than 33 cities and towns of Bangladesh. Later in 2008, Waste Concern was able to bring private investment in waste sector to scale-up the model in a city scale basis.
With the support from UNCRD and the Government of Japan, Waste Concern became the National Coordination Center (NCC) for 3Rs and assisted the Government of Bangladesh to successfully launch the National 3R Strategy in 2010. As a part of 3Rs Initiative in Bangladesh, a compost plant was established in Kushtia city, Bangladesh. This project is a joint venture between UNCRD, Waste Concern, Department of Environment, Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), Kushtia Municipality, and the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperative with financial support of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), the Ichinomiya South Lion's Club in Japan, and Asian Development Bank (ADB).
At present, Waste Concern is assisting several cities in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Nepal and Vietnam in replicating its model. With support from UNESCAP, the model is being replicated in 10 Asian and 10 African cities. A regional recycling training centre was opened in Dhaka in 2010 for the benefit of both local and international participants. Waste Concern is working with UNESCAP to create a fund to assist cities in Asia and Africa to start Integrated Resource Recovery Centers to solve their solid waste management problems harness carbon financing. This fund will offer three products in a single package to a city, they are technical, financial and capacity building support. The fund is expected to be operational by early 2012.