STATE OF CITIES 2015: Solid Waste Management in Dhaka City: Towards Decentralised Governance


03 August 2015

STATE OF CITIES 2015: Solid Waste Management in Dhaka City: Towards Decentralised Governance

The report attempts to explore and understand the challenges of existing solid waste management system in Dhaka city, and unfold disjoints among the stakeholders that hinder effective governance. Unlike previous studies, the study has delved into the key micro issues from the ‘governance’ perspective with a particular focus on functioning of the various stages of the solid waste management process.

With the aim of bridging the gaps in past research and in order to throw some light on existing scenario of SWM in Dhaka, this study ‘State of Cities (SOC): Solid waste management of Dhaka City– Towards Decentralised Governance’ has tried to explore the role of various stakeholders and institutions through the micro lens at various stages of SWM and thereby understand the overall SWM system in Dhaka. The issue of governance and subsequently development of SWM has been addressed in this context. Given the limited timeframe of the research, this study has focused only on solid waste in terms of the waste that city corporation deals with excluding medical and hazardous waste. In doing so, the study looked at the micro level management in details at selected wards in both city corporations (Dhaka North and South). Considering the diversity of waste management at various stages, the analysis is focused in three prominent stages: I. Primary stage looks at primary waste generators (slum and non-slum households, markets and commercial establishments and public places), II. Secondary stage includes disposal to land filling from container sites and other designated sites. III. Tertiary stage studies the issues related to recycling and composting.

In line with the objectives, the study adopted a mixed methodology involving both qualitative and quantitative tools to achieve the goal. A large scale survey with 600 randomly selected sample households has been conducted in 12 randomly selected wards out of 93 wards. The fundamental basis of such selection was the density of population (high, middle and low) as it is directly related with SWM. In addition, considering the difficulty of conducting survey and to secure in depth information seven Focus Group Discussions (FGD) and 42 Key informant Interviews (KII) with relevant stakeholders were carried out. In this study, data was collected from various secondary sources (like DNCC, DSCC). Moreover, round-the-clock information tracking at selected primary waste disposal sites (container stations) were conducted. GIS data was collected and analysed for preparation of relevant maps. The survey covered the major stakeholders and institutions (including rules and regulations) relevant to solid waste management.

The first chapter presents in a nutshell the scope of the report. Chapter two of the report gives an overview of the existing scenario of SWM. Chapter three aims at understanding the primary waste management in terms of in-house and off-house management with particular emphasis on households, since they generate about 61 percent of the total waste. In addition the chapter tries to understand the perception of the stakeholders and their grievances especially relating to the existing practices of SWM.

Chapter four focuses on the secondary stage (container site to final disposal) and tertiary stage (recycling of organic and inorganic waste) of SWM. In this connection, the coordination between waste disposal and waste clearance has been studied. It has been observed that coordination failures have occurred frequently in specific wards in Dhaka city. An explanation in terms of Governance failure has been given in this connection. In addition to this, the chapter studies in details the management system of the final dumping grounds. Lack of coordination among key departments and absence of any viable planning for the future is widely observed. Subsequent to the secondary stage, the study on tertiary stage captures the recycling mechanism existing and opportunities available in the near future. The potentiality of a large informal market expanding at rapid pace has been highlighted. The need to encourage composting in order to save land and environment has been hailed in the study.

The last chapter presents the key results and concluding remarks. It has been observed that the rate of waste collection has been at an encouraging rate of 76 percent per day on an average. Per capita waste generation is estimated to be 0.38kg compared to 0.34kg in 2005. The study concludes recommending a decentralised form of governance to address inter ward disparities in SWM.

SoC 2015: Solid Waste Management in Dhaka City: Towards Decentralized Governance (Full Report)