New bins, old habits
The Habiganj municipality in 2021 constructed concrete bins as secondary transfer stations (STS) at 14 major locations within the municipal area, aiming to facilitate garbage disposal and enhance cleanliness.
However, the initiative failed to serve its purpose, largely due to nonchalance of the municipal residents.
Visiting different areas in the municipality recently, including the densely populated Kaligachhtola area, this correspondent saw locals have been dumping garbage on the roadside, in open drains, and ponds instead of the STS bins.
Some were even leaving their household waste around the STS bins, but not inside those.
"Many throw their waste from inside their houses into nearby drains or ponds, or roadside. While some people do come to the STS bin, they dump the waste outside," said Muhibul Islam, a resident of Kaligachhtola area.
"The garbage often gets piled up on the main road, causing inconveniences to pedestrians, including school-goers, as they have to walk through the wastes. Also, municipal workers bringing medical and other waste from hospitals, houses, hotels, and restaurants are also leaving those outside the bins," said Mifta Mia, a resident of Noahati area.
Sujat Ali, a student of Brindaban Government College, said, "The bad odour from the waste dumped by the roadsides is often unbearable. The garbage clogs the drains, causing waterlogging during monsoon. We have to tread through the dirty water on our way to our destinations."
Contacted, Ataur Rahman Salim, mayor of Habiganj municipality, said, "Municipality's vehicles collect household waste from at least 70 percent of residents, while the rest simply throw garbage everywhere. I took the initiative to construct the STS bins around the town so people could dump their waste there, but no one wants to use those."
"I have requested people to use the bins and play a role in keeping the neighbourhoods clean, but no one listens. We spent so much money to make the STS bins, but if people don't use those, then what can we do?" he added.
Tofazzal Sohel, general secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Habiganj unit), said the municipality's initiative to set up STS bins was a good move to facilitate waste management, but it is necessary to raise awareness among people to make it a success.
He also called for implementing modern waste management systems for a better outcome.