Waste vitiates city thoroughfare
Farmgate is one of the busiest places in the Dhaka city no doubt. Thousands of people pass by or gather on this grand intersection to catch public transport and do low-cost shopping everyday in a regular manner.
There are a great number of restaurants, snack shops, and other business establishments at Farmgate. But it is a matter of great regret that they discard their daily garbage at the heart of this commercial hub since there is no dustbin in the area for years. There are more than 15 food outlets and hundreds of other shops near the spot.
This busy section is the starting point of Bir Uttam Maj Gen (retd) KM Shafiullah Road (Green Road) at the southwest of Farmgate stretching southward through Sajal Square -- the intersection of Panthapath and Green Road.
Some people say that a small amount of paper and other dry waste are disposed of on the spot in day time and the garbage from restaurants is thrown in plentiful during night time.
Owners and staff of the restaurants, food stores and others unconditionally admit the act of throwing their food waste, paper, polythene etc. While a great number of people on the hectic thoroughfare generally cross over the dumping spot in great inconvenience.
A passer-by has to cross over the area everyday. His office is located at Panthapath. He said, "I have to go to my office by passing this dumping spot with a great effort. Such open dumping spot should not remain in the capital city of Dhaka."
So many working ladies dwell at Green Road. One of them expressed her disgust because of this obnoxious problem which remains unresolved for years. "It ought to be kept clean by both day and night considering the health of a great number of people dwelling in this area," she said.
The garbage vehicles of the city corporation come once in 24 hours to collect waste from the spot. But generally they come after midnight. As a result, the spot turns into an obnoxious dumping ground again quickly.
There used to be two dustbins for throwing waste matter in the area 20 years ago. One of the two dustbins was made of concrete and it was small in size. The other was of iron. But neither of the dustbins could remain there for a long time due to objection and hardline attitude of the people residing in different residences there.
With a view to holding the waste a dustbin was erected in front of the Bata Store some 15 years back but it had also been dismantled.
The erstwhile caretaker government took the first step in this connection (waste disposal) but it did not do the work as three dividers were raised in the front side of Ananda Cinema Hall to allow buses of different routes to move without any hindrance.
The corner most lane, along the dumping spot, was meant to be used by double-decker BRTC buses which made officials rethink a possible spot for a dustbin in the future. And the matter hangs still in a limbo.
At least there are five fruit sellers and two snack shops in front of Ananda Cinema Hall building. They throw waste on that spot all the time and at this the shopkeepers of garment and other items and business establishments are encouraged to follow them.
The place becomes more unhygienic when the boys of the street play mischief while collecting recycleable objects from the dumping spot.
At present the people living in the area demand a dustbin at the same place where the waste matters are mostly thrown.
"The previous dustbins were shifted from one spot to another as the spots for dumping the waste were not determined properly," a resident said.
The owner of Farmgate Hotel and Restaurant added it is a bounden duty of the considerate democratic government to take necessary steps immediately to remove garbage from this busiest public place. "It is not acceptable that this area remains littered with waste emitting odour when thousands of people gather and pass through it," he further added.
There are two other hotels. They are also close to the spot. The owners of these hotels admit that they throw some of their waste on the spot by both day and night. However there are some rickshaws and vans which come to collect their waste, too.
A man has been dwelling in the area for a long time. He has a shop selling shoes on the divider and it is close to the dumping spot. He said, "We are poor people. The bad odour of the waste cannot strike us anymore."
There are other local businessmen, they say that the problem may be solved easily if a dustbin is erected on the spot and the trucks and vans of the Dhaka City Corporation come twice in a day to collect the accumulate waste from the spot, so that the area remains clean and not vitiated with bad odour.
In accordance with the suggestion of the officials of the regional office of Dhaka City Corporation (north) at Karwan Bazar, the owners of the business organizations and the people living in the area should hold talks on the matter among themselves for a remedy. Later on, the authorities may come forward to take necessary measures in this connection.
But then the initial responsibility of motivating the people as such lies with the authorities concerned.