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Posts Tagged ‘bangladesh’
(English) Q&A with Habibur Rahman, author of Hathay Bunano case in Bangladesh

Q&A avec Habibur Rahman, auteur du cas Waste Concern au Bangladesh

M. Habibur Rahman was born in Rajshahi in Bangladesh. He obtained his BA (honors) and MA degrees in economics at Rajshahi University in 1985 and 1986 respectively. He was conferred PhD degree for his research in the area of international economics at the Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh in 2003. During the last 18 years he has undertaken a number of qualitative and quantitative studies in a wide range of areas that include, among others, private sector development, trade, poverty, education. He has worked as a consultant for the major development partners of Bangladesh such as UNDP, ADB, and JICA. Recently he has undertaken a UNDP sponsored study entitled “MDG (Education) Needs Assessment and Costing”. He is now involved in one IFC sponsored project in the area of private sector development as a monitoring and evaluation consultant. He also worked for the country’s leading civil society think tank ‘Centre for Policy Dialogue’ as a Research Fellow in 2007. Rahman has participated in a number of policy dialogues, seminars, consultative meetings and workshops across the country. Rahman is now working as an Associate Professor of economics at the Jagannath University, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Waste Concern operates a decentralized community-private-public partnership model for waste recycling to transform the solid waste into organic compost using a low cost, low-tech and labour-intensive method.

To download the Waste Concern case study from the GIM database, please click here.

What is the basic value proposition of Waste Concern and what makes its financial model sustainable?

The fundamental objective of Waste Concern is to achieve a common vision to contribute to waste recycling, environmental improvement, renewable energy, employment generation for the urban poor and sustainable development. Since its inception in 2001 until 2006, they had been able to reduce 17,000 tons of Green House Gas emissions, generate employment for 986 urban poor, and saved a landfill area of 33.12 acres with a depth of 1 meter. During the same period they processed 124,400 tons of organic waste and produced 31,100 tons of compost. Their composting activities benefited 60,000 people in Dhaka and an additional 434,290 people from its replication in other parts of the country.

The Waste Concern developed composting plants are all simple, low cost and labour intensive and are suitable to the socio-economic and climatic condition of Bangladesh. The modest sales revenue and low pay-back period makes their model financially attractive.

To what extent was proper research and piloting a key factor in Waste Concern’s success?

Before going into actual implementation Waste Concern conducted in-depth research because they didn’t have any idea about the content of the urban waste. This is important to know for recycling organic waste into organic compost, which has a great market potential in the country. Piloting of the model was equally important to promote the concept of ‘4 Rs’ – reduce, reuse, recycle and recover waste. Their in-depth research and successful piloting resulted in several replications of their model across the country. Their model has also been replicated in Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

What are the benefits of a decentralized vs. centralized composting system?

It has been observed that centralized composting plants involve high operational, transport and maintenance cost, and often fails to reach target in the developing countries. As opposed to that, a decentralized system has several advantages in the context of Bangladesh as it is labour intensive, less costly, and suited for the waste stream. It also improves community participation in source separation and reduces costs incurred for collection, transportation and disposal of waste by municipal authority.

What is the role played by Bangladeshi government entities and UN agencies (UNDP, UNICEF) in this model?

Waste Concern received lot of support from the government entities and the UN agencies operating in the country. The government-owned research organizations, namely Bangladesh’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, provided them with laboratory testing facilities free of charge. Dhaka City Corporation and the Public Works Department provided public land for community composting. Two UN agencies in Bangladesh namely the UNDP and the UNICEF, provided financial support for implementation of their model in the country.

Based on Waste Concern’s experience, what are the promises of the Kyoto Protocol Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in contributing to environment sustainability in Bangladesh?

The CDM of the Kyoto Protocol has created opportunities for generating huge amount of economic and environmental benefits for Bangladesh. Under this initiative the world’s first carbon trading based composting project is being implemented with a capacity of composting 700 tons of waste per day along with a landfill gas extraction and utilization through its 3 planned recycling plants with a daily recycling capacity of 130 tons each. This initiative will also reduce 15,600 tons of CO2 e/year and save 52,195 m3/year area of landfill.

What has been your personal experience going through the GIM case research process?

The GIM case research initiative is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the success stories of the real development players in a country. I feel proud to be a part of this initiative. A group of able and wonderful personalities involved in the research process at the UNDP has clearly demonstrated their commitment to the success of this initiative throughout the entire period of the study by providing timely support and necessary guidance. Thanks to UNDP for sponsoring such an initiative which can make a significant contribution to creating a hunger and pollution free global environment.