Around 200 tonnes of waste remain uncollected on Khulna City Corporation (KCC) streets every day -- causing health risks and environmental hazards for city dwellers.
KCC collects around 400 tonnes but it generates approximately 550 to 600 tonnes of solid waste.
Lack of carrying capacity, negligence of authorities concerned, illegal dumping of waste and reluctance of putting garbage inside designated dumpsters are the main causes, according to city dwellers.
During a recent visit to different wards of KCC, uncollected waste was seen piled up, emanating horrible stench.
In some places, liquid waste spreads on streets after excavation of drains. KCC kept it on the roads for several days to dry up as the corporation lacks proper equipment to carry it.
Engineer Mohammad Abdul Aziz, chief conservancy officer of KCC, told The Daily Star that KCC now collects around 400 tonnes of solid waste and dumps it in an open field in Rajbandho area of Batiaghata upazila that is eight kilometres away from the city corporation.
The rest 200 tonnes do not even reach the dumping ground, due to lack of logistic support and manpower, he said.
Doly Kundu, a housewife of Daulatpur's Pabla area of KCC told this correspondent that locals dump waste in front of her house as there is no dumpster in the locality.
“City dwellers are forced to dump waste into drains, canals and road-sides as there are not enough dumpsters in the KCC area,” she said.
“The city corporation should form a local citizens' committee to monitor waste management of the respective areas,” she added.
Like Doly Kundu, many complained about the awful smell and health hazards posed by the uncollected waste.
They alleged that the city corporation's workers do not collect garbage regularly. As a result, it spills onto the roads.
Dr ASM Abdur Razzak, civil surgeon of Khulna district, told this newspaper that airborne and waterborne diseases are spreading from overflowing dumpsters and waste dumped on open roads.
Waterborne diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, jaundice and skin diseases are spreading after the uncollected waste mixes with rainwater and surface water.
“Open dumpsters can lead to respiratory diseases,” said the civil surgeon.
This correspondent also saw a dilapidated waste container just in front of Khulna Sadar Hospital.
When asked, the civil surgeon said hospital authorities have written over 25 letters to the city corporation, but no action has been taken yet to remove the container.
Contacted, Sheikh Ashrafuzzaman, secretary general of Greater Khulna Development Action Coordination Committee (GKDACC), said monitoring cell of waste management is overlooked.
KCC is not serious about removing waste as it is being dumped into open drains, by the road, open grounds and water bodies, he added.
Anisur Rahman, conservancy officer of KCC, said Khulna City Corporation collects solid waste from 14 major spots, 190 garbage containers and bins. Now, 40 dump trucks, including 33 demountable container trucks, and 283 rickshaw-vans are used to collect waste.
In addition, 509 employees and cleaners, including 203 permanent ones, are working to remove waste from 31 wards of Khulna city, said the conservancy officer.
Contacted, Khulna city Mayor Talukder Abdul Khaleque said citizens should come forward to assist the city corporation and "without their direct help, KCC won't be able to solve the problem".
“We need community-based approach to solve the waste management system,” he said.
“City dwellers must stop fly-tipping and practice putting the garbage inside bins. KCC would solve the problem during my tenure,” said the KCC mayor.