Sanitation workers handle garbage at Matuail landfill, a 100-acre area that serves as the disposal site for solid waste from areas under Dhaka South City Corporation Mahmud Hossain Opu
The government will test methane emissions from 6 sources, following a recent report that revealed Matuail landfill emits four tons of methane into the atmosphere every hour
A technical committee formed by the government is going to measure methane emissions from six major sources across the country in the wake of concern raised by a Canadian green group.
Methane’s impact on the atmospheric temperature is 80 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. It is a major driver of global warming.
The six sources shortlisted by the committee are Matuail Landfill, the waste dumping grounds in Dhaka’s Aminbazar and Naraynaganj, Tejgaon Industrial Area, the sewage treatment plant in Narayanganj, and the croplands across the country.
The samples will be tested at the laboratories of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) and Dhaka University.
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Convener of the technical committee and Environment Ministry Additional Secretary Md Moniruzzaman said that the report would be prepared for submission in June.
In a report on April 17, Canada-based emission-tracking company GHGSat Inc said that the Matuail Landfill emits around four tons of methane gas into the atmosphere every hour, which is equivalent to emissions by 190,000 cars.
Located about 8km away from Dhaka’s Gulistan, the landfill is used as the disposal site for garbage collected from areas under the Dhaka South City Corporation.
Following the report, the government on April 26 formed a technical committee with representatives from government and independent experts to inspect not only the Matuail Landfill, but also other sources of methane emission to independently determine the emission levels. The committee held its first meeting on May 11.
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Moniruzzaman doubted that methane emissions at Matuail Landfill were as high as mentioned in the GHGSat Inc report, but he could not give a reason why it would be lower.
“Various quarters have claimed that the landfill is spread over 181 acres of land, however, waste is dumped on only 50 acres of the land,” he said.
The landfill has been in operation for 32 years, the additional secretary added.
Air Commodore Md Badrul Amin, chief waste management officer of DSCC, claimed that the volume of methane emission cited in the international report was illogical.
“More waste is dumped in India’s West Bengal than in Bangladesh, but the report shows that methane emissions are higher in Matuail than in West Bengal. Waste management in a scientific and procedural manner has not been possible in Bangladesh, but this still does not make sense,” he added.
The DSCC official also said that they had a master plan pending with the ministries concerned, which include proposals to set up an incinerator plant to raise per day processing capacity, as well as a biogas plant, compost plant, recycle plant, construction of waste recycling plant, and medical waste incineration plant.
“If the plan gets approval, we can use waste to generate biogas. This will be of use in cooking and agriculture,” he said.
Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder, professor and chairman of the Department of Environmental Science at Stamford University Bangladesh, expressed doubts over the satellite images GHGSat Inc used to identify Matuail as a source of such higher methane emissions.
“We need to prove that it [the report] is incorrect. More research shall be done to examine the real volume of methane emissions at Matuail landfill,” he said, adding that Bangladesh needed to take up projects to apply scientific methods for waste disposal.