Population of Cox’s Bazar’s Ukhiya and Teknaf upazilas has risen to more than 1.5 million people due to the Rohingya influx.
The highly dense population generates 10,000 tons of waste per month and immediate steps should be taken to address the resulting adverse impacts on health and environment, urged speakers at a programme in Cox’s Bazar.
They were talking at the inception meeting of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s project titled “Sustainable Solutions to Solid Waste: A Local Response to the Rohingya Crisis” on 16 October 2018 in Cox’s Bazar.
The USD 4.8 million project, initiated jointly by UNDP and Sweden, aims to introduce a sustainable system for solid waste management in Cox’s Bazar.
The three-year project will contribute to environmental protection, prevention of diseases, promotion of hygiene and proper sanitary standards, income generation for host community and support waste reduction and recycling.
Speaking at the event as the chief guest, Mohammad Abul Kalam, Additional Secretary and the Commissioner, Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC) said, “Solid waste management is now an urgent need in Cox’s Bazar, considering the pressure caused by the over-population and the massive volume of waste produced daily in the crammed area.”
“Waste can be turned into resources if managed properly. UNDP’s initiative to manage the solid waste is very timely, government is ready to provide all kind of support for that,” he promised.
Sudipto Mukerjee, Country Director, UNDP Bangladesh in his opening remarks said, “Even though Bangladesh has shown enormous generosity by opening its doors to nearly 700,000 refugees, a large multifaceted crisis has also appeared including the aspect of solid waste management, which was overlooked.”
“UNDP with support from Sweden has come forward to respond to that crisis in order to keep Cox’s Bazar clean and free from pollution, and this will the very first project in Cox’s Bazar on solid waste management in line with this year’s World Habitat Day theme, which is Municipal Solid Waste Management ” he added.
Through this project, public health risk and environmental impact will be reduced and at the same time, income generation opportunities will be created for the host community.
It will also change the behaviours and attitudes of host community to improve the way how waste is generated, disposed and managed, Sudipto further added.
Marcela Lizana Bobadilla, First Secretary, Embassy of Sweden stressed the importance of developing a waste management system by building proper facilities. “We are glad to be a part of this initiative” Marcela said.
Earlier Faisal Ridwan, Solid Waste Management specialist, UNDP made the keynote presentation.
Among others Mahedul Islam, Additional Deputy Commissioner (General), Cox’s Bazar, Arif Abdullah Khan, Programme Specialist, UNDP and Annika Sandland, Senior Coordinator, ISCG also spoke at the event.