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Focus on city sewage disposal

Published : Wednesday, 3 April, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 1942

Focus on city sewage disposal

Focus on city sewage disposal

Dhakas struggle with managing sewage waste amidst its rapid growth is a pressing issue that demands immediate attention.

While the city grapples with outdated infrastructure and an overwhelming population surge, untreated wastewater contaminates its waterways, posing severe threats to public health and the environment. Despite efforts to address the problem, such as the construction of the Dasherkandi plant, capable of treating a significant amount of sewage waste, the reality is that much more needs to be done to achieve comprehensive sewage treatment coverage for the entire city.

To tackle this challenge, a multi-faceted approach is necessary. The collaboration between Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), Dhaka WASA (DWASA), and external partners like UNICEF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation demonstrates a concerted effort to improve faecal sludge management and establish effective sewage treatment systems. Through initiatives targeting specific zones within the city and supported by robust environmental regulations like the Environmental Conservation Rules (ECR) and the Bangladesh Environmental Law, progress is being made towards ensuring minimum treatment standards and reducing water pollution.

However, the road ahead is fraught with challenges. Implementing and enforcing these regulations nationwide, particularly in rural areas, requires significant resources and infrastructure investment. Moreover, fostering innovation and knowledge sharing in wastewater treatment through events like the Technology Exhibition on City Sanitation is crucial for staying abreast of the latest technologies and solutions.

The private sector is a critical player in driving progress amid these challenges. By investing in sewage treatment plants (STPs) and advocating for cleaner, healthier practices, individuals and organizations can safeguard Bangladeshs environment for future generations. As the demand for effective STP solutions grows, so does the opportunity for collective action towards a cleaner, healthier future. Let us unite in our commitment to becoming stewards of our environment, ensuring that clean water and thriving ecosystems remain the legacy we pass on to the next generation.

Sewage waste treatment has long been sidelined as a low priority on our governments development agendas. More than just the high cost of building treatment plants and sewage systems (both structural and non-structural measures) makes sewage treatment less appealing. Governments find other areas of infrastructure, like electricity, roads and bridges, more attractive. This is a mistake focusing only on economic growth but neglecting to invest in public health and protecting the environment, even though these things are directly connected to a countrys overall economic success.

Initially, governments shouldered most of the cost of extensive sewer systems. Later, private companies also got involved. In Japan, for example, different government ministries handle extensive sewer systems and smaller on-site systems in rural areas. They also have laws to make sure sewage treatment is done correctly. Individual homes or small communities have treatment systems in places where big sewers aren practical. Local governments also play a crucial role in several ways, such as issuing permits for on-site systems, conducting inspections to ensure they function correctly, and providing technical assistance to residents.

Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka WASA (DWASA) have joined forces to improve faecal sludge management in the city through several collaborative efforts supported by UNICEF and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. These initiatives aim to remove and treat sewage waste from homes across Dhaka safely. Collected sewage will be transported to the sewage treatment plant at Dasherkandi for proper purification before being released into the environment. The programs initial phase will target Zone-3 of Dhaka North City Corporation, encompassing areas like Gulshan, Banani, and Baridhara. This pilot will serve as a valuable starting point for expanding the program across the city.

The Environmental Conservation Rules (ECR) of 2023, established by the Department of Environment of Bangladesh, are a significant force for positive change in how sewage waste is treated in our country. The ECR sets specific criteria for treated wastewater, ensuring a minimum level of treatment and reducing water pollution. In addition to that, the government enacted the Bangladesh Environmental Law in 1995. This law focuses on protecting the environment, raising environmental standards, and controlling and reducing pollution. However, challenges remain. Implementing the ECR and Environmental law across the vast country, especially in rural areas, requires sufficient resources. Building and maintaining adequate treatment facilities necessitates significant infrastructure investment.

Events like the Technology Exhibition on City Sanitation showcase the latest technologies and solutions to treat sewage waste. These exhibitions bring together industry professionals, government agencies, and the public to promote innovation and knowledge sharing in wastewater treatment. This fosters better treatment practices and paves the way for a cleaner and healthier Bangladesh.

Dhakas sewage problems require a collaborative effort, and the private sector has a significant role. Sewage treatment plants (STPs) are not just guardians of our water bodies - they are silent warriors in the fight against environmental pollution. By significantly reducing harmful pollutants in wastewater, STPs play a critical role in protecting aquatic ecosystems, preventing harmful algal blooms and promoting public health. As awareness grows about the detrimental effects of untreated effluent, the demand for effective STP solutions will undoubtedly rise. By actively seeking and implementing STP solutions, individuals and organizations can become powerful advocates for a cleaner, healthier future for Bangladesh. Let us all strive to become stewards of our environment, ensuring that future generations inherit a world with clean water and thriving ecosystems.

The writer is an Environmental Monitoring Professional

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