1. Waste Management
Dhaka city’s waste management system is currently insufficient, with 2500 tons of waste per day or about half the total waste generated in the city remaining uncollected everyday. In order to help alleviate this problem, Green Channel Foundation seeks to research and develop projects in the area of waste management in Dhaka city. After a city-wide anti-littering campaign that focused on raising awareness by setting up trash cans in different areas of Dhaka city, we are now planning on expanding our waste management efforts in three ways, which include:
Biogas systems convert biodegradable waste to biogas. We are planning to visit Jahangirnagar University in December. They have a system that supplies biogas to 30 families.
After visiting JU, we aim to:
Currently, we are concentrating on segregation as it is a major problem in Dhaka city. We are planning to first start this initiative at Uttara Society and then eventually expand . The Uttara Society Welfare Committee has accepted our idea of starting waste segregation at selected households and to make sure it remains separated outside. Waste will be segregated into four categories: paper, glass, plastic and organic waste. We will be providing separate garbage bins of specific colours and common trash cans outside. We are now waiting to hear back from Waste Concern, a non profit organization that also works on waste segregation, for partnership and cooperation. We plan to publicize this project especially in Uttara through an educational seminar to begin with.
2. Rainwater Harvesting Project
Water scarcity is an important issue in Dhaka city, one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Because of heavy industrial contamination of surface water, about 90% of the water supply in Dhaka city comes from groundwater sources. The excess demand has currently caused the groundwater level to decrease at a rate of three meters every year, already having sunk by 50 meters over the last forty years. In a 2006 report by Dhaka WASA, the water deficit was identified as 500 million liters per day.
In stark contrast to the water deficit, Bangladesh is blessed with an annual rainfall of 2290 mm (100-year average, World Bank 2009). However, natural groundwater recharge from rainfall in Dhaka city is hampered by paved surfaces, up by 344% from 1960. Moreover, surface runoff from paved surfaces contributes to waterlogging and flooding problems in the city.
The aim of this project is to provide solutions for both the water scarcity and waterlogging problem in Dhaka city, by investigating the untapped potential of rainwater as well as methods to recharge groundwater. Different aspects of the project include:
Rainwater catchment system
The rainwater catchment system is supposed to collect rainwater and reduce usage of groundwater. We have talked to Sunbeams School and they have approved the idea of building our first prototype. Our Head of Logistics has come up with the basic design. He is currently working on the schematics for the formal project proposal. Once we have submitted the proposal, we can start building the system.
If the first prototype is successful, we then plan on reaching out to lower-income groups because water shortage has always been a problem for them. In the long run, we want to promote the idea of building a catchment systems all over the city. It is cost effective and it can lower the rate of groundwater depletion.
Reduction of Surface Runoff/ Improvement of groundwater recharge
This part of the project is the second phase. We plan on working on it once we have built at least two working prototypes.
Collecting & Testing Rainwater Samples
Over the course of two weeks, samples of rainwater were collected from multiple areas in Dhaka deemed as prospective locations for establishing rainwater harvesting systems. The samples are being tested for pH and impurities to determine whether they are safe for consumption or other plausible uses.
This month we are very excited to welcome new recruits into the Green Channel family. We are currently restructuring the organization, allowing for more flexibility and autonomy among the frontline members. Our new structure will include the following positions:
We have recently completed our interviews with some very promising candidates who will be filling up some of the vacant positions from 2 through 8.
This year we have also welcomed a Global Giving visitor called Neeharika Tummala who was very impressed upon visiting sites where we have set up our trashcans. We have sat down and also discussed her observations, our aspirations and current action plans.
Currently we are also exploring new ideas for small scale projects that smaller teams within th eorganization can design and implement. Few days ago, 2 of our Governing Body members, Sarah Seraj and Zabir Islam took a tour of JU’s biogas facility. The biogas there is piped to 30 residential homes. The GC representatives spoke to Dr. Khabir Uddin, the designer of the system, about the possibility of making a pilot-scale biogas system for houses in the slums of Dhaka, to which he has shown great interest and we look forward to discuss with him on this further.
At Green Channel we encourage and inspire an entrpreneurial spirit. All our members are great leaders, constantly coming up with new ideas, leaping for new opportunities and executing effective projects. With your continued support and assistance, we hope to make a significant difference in Bangladesh's waste management system.
The recent political turmoil and the cascade of blockades (up until the elections on 5th January) has been a huge disadvantage for Green Channel. Roads were blocked with arson attacks were taking place everywhere. Just before the turmoil started, we begin a new program called Project Trash Patrol (PTP) through which we began checking back on our existing trashcans, numbering them sequentially. We recruited volunteers on a three months basis for these checks ups. However the turmoil prevented us from sending volunteers on the road. We are just about starting to pick up on that program again, and updating our trashcan tracking doc.
Besides, we are also working directly with North Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) to check out new trashcan designs, (that we are very excited about) - that is supposed to be fixed to the ground, to prevent theft and disfiguration. Once those designes and checked out and approved, we will use th enew designs to carry out our next phase - Phase 4.
This is to let you know that 24 new trashcans have been set up as a part of Phase 3 - in DIT Road and New Eskaton Road in the following locations:
New Eskaton Road:
This is half of Phase 3 of Green Channel's Dhaka wide trashcan setup, to be completed over a series of 16 phases. We are current preparing for the second half of Phase 3. Please continue to support us in our endeaors to create a litter free Bangladesh.
Due to the recent political instability and violence in the country, we were unable to do much in the past few months. Things have calmed down a little bit at the moment and we are hoping to get some work done this summer.
We are currently doing spot selections for Phase 3 and 4. By the end of July we hope to have set up the trashcans in those areas. We are also looking forward to present at different universities in Dhaka to create awareness among youth, spread the message of our work and recruit more volunteers. The IT team is currently working on creating our official website.
Our new video on the current project is now up and running on Youtube. Please feel free to check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXFr4JHbtwk
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