Living amidst piles of garbage
Wastes from households, factories and hospitals are dumped here under the open sky every day, causing pollution. We get putrid smell even two-kilometres away.
Due to absence of government-designated dumping stations, tonnes of household, industrial and medical wastes are being dumped under the open sky on a daily basis in Pabna town, posing a serious threat to public health.
Pedestrians and students have to hustle through the putrid stench emanating from these dumping sites, besides busy walkways on their way to work and schools every day.
But it appears that the municipal authorities have turned a blind eye to this nuisance, despite repeated public demand for a proper waste management system.
Around two lakh people live in Pabna municipality, covering around 27 square kilometre area. Besides, three government and around 50 private hospitals are located there.
Around 45 tonnes of wastes are being produced daily in the municipal area, said Abdur Rahim, inspector of waste management section of Pabna municipality.
As per existing system, local ward councillors hire some private sweepers, who collect wastes door-to-door riding on three-wheeler vans and dispose those of at 12 temporary dumping spots in the town.
Later, the municipality's waste carrying vehicles collect those from the spots and then pile those up at two other permanent dumping spots -- in Fakirpur and Pabna bus terminal area.
All these 14 waste dumping points are located in densely-populated areas, adjacent to important streets.
"While I pass through piles of garbage, I have to stop breathing for a few moments due to the bad smell," said Md Alauddin, a librarian of Pabna Islamia Madrasa, which is near the bus terminal area.
"Not just me, some four to five thousand students of our madrasa are facing a similar ordeal," he added.
"I filed complaints multiple times with the municipality authorities. But they don't pay heed to our demand," he added.
"Wastes from households, factories and hospitals are dumped here under the open sky every day, causing pollution. We get putrid smell even two-kilometres away," said Robiul, a resident of Fakirpur.
The situation gets worse when it rains. Murky water flows from the piles of garbage into the road, he added.
Echoing the same, another resident Shukjan Begum, said, "The presence of insects have increased significantly in our area due to pollution caused by such garbage dumping stations."
"People are suffering from different kinds of diseases. We want the government's immediate attention to solve the problem," said Abdul Hamid Khan, an environmental activist in Pabna.
Contacted, Pabna municipality waste management officer Md Abdur Rahim said they are forced to dump wastes under the open sky as they don't have enough space and modern technologies for waste management.
The municipality's executive engineer Md Nazmul Islam said the government has undertaken a project to modernise waste management system in the country's 10 municipalities, including Pabna.
"We will get modern technologies, equipment and vehicles under this project," he added, without mentioning any timeframe of when they may get these facilities.