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Dhaka produces 2.7 to 2.9m tonnes of waste annually

07 December 2022


Staff Reporter :
Dhaka's fresh markets are estimated to generate in excess of 5,000 tonnes of organic matter every day. With this estimation, markets of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) produce around 2.7 to 2.9 million tonnes of waste yearly. About 70 percent of the waste is food-related organic waste, according to Local Government and Rural Development Ministry.
However, the organic matters, which could be put to good use and prove a valuable and renewable source of energy, are thrown away as waste. Bio-digesters could generate biogas, which is a mixture of gases from raw materials such as agricultural waste, manure, municipal waste, plant material, sewage, green waste, and food waste, recycling the huge amount of urban food waste.
The experts opined while discussing at a national dialogue 'Turning wastes into wealth: rotting food to green energy profits as Dhaka's landfills near capacity' held at the Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) auditorium on Tuesday organized by Dhaka Food System (DFS) Project of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), funded by the Embassy of the Netherlands.
Around 100 participants from government departments, city corporations, development organizations, fresh market committees and private sector joined the national dialogue to discuss this innovative investment opportunity, according to a FAO press release.
Local Government Division (LGD) Secretary Muhammad Ibrahim attended the event as chief guest.
Experts from FAO, as well as Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands, presented the keynote presentations in the dialogue. These keynotes included lessons learned from energy production in markets gained from a study tour earlier this year to Bangkok and Melbourne.
Xavier Bouan, the project's Senior Technical Adviser, said, "The amount of waste generated increases every day due to population growth and urban expansion. To increase the limited available lifespan of existing landfills, it's essential to promote the recycling of food-related waste, which comprises a significant portion of municipal waste."
"Organic waste and inorganic waste are discharged separately from fresh markets, restaurants and hotels. Organic waste can be used as a raw material for composting   and biogas production and can be collected relatively easily," he added.
He informed that the FAO project was taken aiming at reducing the city's food loss and waste. Recently, FAO observed the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste by organizing a consultation meeting in collaboration with DNCC; the Hotel, Guesthouse and Restaurant Owner's Association of Bangladesh and food delivery services.
Under the project, they are training officials at 130 fresh markets across the four city corporations of Dhaka North, Dhaka South, Gazipur and Narayanganj on food safety, food loss and waste reduction, food handling, waste management, and waste segregation. In addition, the project will provide 370 bins to ten model fresh markets in a bid to promote waste segregation.
He also informed that another alternative method for waste disposal is being implemented by using black soldier flies (Hermetiaillucens). FAO is piloting this option with Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University. Black Soldier Fly larvae feed voraciously on various types of organic waste, including food waste, agro-industrial by-products, and chicken and dairy manure.
The flies reduce the initial weight of organic waste by about 50 percent in a shorter period than conventional composting. Black soldier fly larvae have been proven to convert organic waste into high-quality nutrients for pet foods, fish and poultry feeds, residue fertilizer, and pet food.
These flies can be grown on various types of organic waste, including food and vegetable market waste. The production of insect-based animal feed can contribute to a more resilient and sustainable food system in Dhaka, he added.

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