University of Tehran

Municipal solid waste and recovery potential: Bangladesh perspective

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Rapid urbanization and population growth are largely responsible for very high increasing rate of MSW generation in the urban areas of Bangladesh, one of the densely populated Least Developed Asian Countries (LDACs). These scenario posses a social, environmental and professional threat for city dwellers, urban planners, development authorities and other concerned stakeholders. In Bangladesh, a major portion of population does not have access to waste collection services and only an insignificant fraction of the generated wastes are actually collected by doorto- door collection system introduced by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and community based organizations (CBOs) in late 90’s against tiny payment. Moreover, due to lack of motivation, awareness, commitment, expertise as well as money a considerable portion of wastes, 40-60%, are not properly stored, collected or disposed in the designated places for ultimate disposal (Ahsan et al., 2005).

As a result, the unmanageable increasing quantity of MSW creates enormous environmental problems. A feasibility study on the various aspects of integrated management and safe disposal of MSW in LDACs can be found in Alamgir et al., (2005). The MSW industry has four components: recycling, composting, land filling and waste to energy (WTE) via incineration (Tchobanoglous et al., 1993). Information on the characteristics of MSW is an essen-tial part for the selection of most appropriate system for storage and transport, evaluating equipment needs, determination of the potential for resource recovery, choice of a suitable method for disposal, sustainable management programs and proper planning. Characterization is also important to determine its possible environmental impacts on nature as well as on society. The per capita waste generation and percent composition of various waste components are the two most important types of data for decision makers.

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