CHEMICAL CONTAMINANTS AND POLLUTANTS IN THE MEASURABLE LIFE OF DHAKA CITY
Medical and Household Solid Waste
Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) is unable to impose rules on the public. On the institutional side, rules and governance are not clear. The role and liabilities of waste generators are not clearly defined i.e., the present law does not provide forfeits for illegal discharge of waste or dumping. Lack of scientific measures for problem solving and DCC has shortages of proficient human resources and finances (Mitali et.al, 2018). The accrued waste is junked by the inhabitants in the city’s streets, open storm water and wastewater drains or open water bodies where and whenever the collection service is non-existent or not functioning properly (Abu, 2018). In particular, slum or peripheries are afflicted by such a bearing. During the annual monsoon rains and storm water effluents which are clogged by solid waste overflow, creating an acute sanitary and wholesome threat in low-lying slum areas particularly. Solid waste generation profile is Per Capita Waste Generation: 0.56 kg/cap/day, Total Waste Generation DCC Area: 5000 tons/day and 70% - 80% of the solid waste is organic. Around 200 metric tons of medical wastes are engendered in the city per day (Approximately 6% of total waste) (Mohiuddin, 2018). Different industries and their discharges to pollution in Dhaka are: fertilizers/pesticides (6.6%), food industry (12.1%), pharmaceuticals (15.9%), metals (14%), Pulp and paper (47.4%) (Mohammad et.al., 2006; Shishir, 2017; Daily Asian Age, 2018).
Table 3: Medical Waste of different categories
Medical waste may contain highly toxic chemicals and can present a mechanism for conveyance of diseases (Table 3). The growth of the medical sector around the world over the last decade connected with an increase in the use of disposable cheap medical products has contributed to the large amount of medical waste being generated. For a megacity like Dhaka, even less harmful wastes generation rates can lead to the gathering of large quantity wastes (Manzurul et.al., 2008). This large amount of medical waste poses from different healthcare establishment (HCE) (Table 4) significant health risks to the people correlated with waste disposal and treatment. During monsoon, the situation gets worse as medical, toxic chemicals and sewage waste flood Dhaka streets, polluting dozens of surrounding areas in the process. The reuse of syringes by the general public represents one of the greatest public health problems in the developing world related to health care waste. Worldwide, an estimated 10 to 20 million infections of Hepatitis B and C and HIV occur annually from the reuse of discarded syringe needles without prior sterilization (Simonsen et.al., 1999).
Dhaka city now alone generates huge solid wastes per day from industrial discharge, fertilizers, fossil fuels, sewage sludge and municipality wastes and they are the major sources of heavy metals in soils and subsequent uptake by crops, vegetables and other food items causing serious health hazards to human beings (Hashem et.al., 2017; Mahmud, 2015 and Ashiqur, 2016). A significant discharge of heavy metals like vanadium, molybdenum, zinc, nickel, mercury, lead, copper, chromium, cadmium and arsenic took place from soils to vegetables (spinach, tomato and cauliflower) grown in industrially polluted soils of Gazipur and Keraniganj in Dhaka (Rafiqul, 2013). Industrial wastes and effluents are being released aberrantly on soils, into canals, rivers, along the road sides or in the vicinity of the industrial areas without any treatment where polluted river water is being used for irrigation purpose in paddy and vegetable cultivation causing absorption of heavy metals through the food chain by human beings (Zubair et.al, 2013).
Important food hazards include microbial hazards, pesticide residues, misuse of additives, chemical contaminants, including biological toxins and adulteration. Although microbiological contamination and chemical hazards have received most attention, it is recognized that food adulteration and food fraud should not be neglected considering their role in public health (FAO/WHO Expert Consultation, 1986). Food adulteration includes various forms of practices, such as mixing, substituting, concealing the quality of food by mis-labelling, putting up decomposed or expired food, and adding toxic substances (Park, 2005). About the proportion of adulterated food items in the market varied between 70% to 90%. Nearly 80% food items in the market were found contaminated in a random survey by public health laboratory of Dhaka City Corporation in 2004 (Staff Correspondent, 2011 and Mirza et.al., 2014). According to the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease & Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR, B), there is approximately 150 food items in the country. A study by the Institute of Public Health (IPH) revealed that more than 50% of the food samples they tested were adulterated. Textile dyes, which are highly injurious to health, are being randomly used to color many types of food. Fish is considered to be an essential protein for people of all ages. Many fish sellers spray fish with formalin in an assorted manner, it makes the fish or fruits stiff and keeps them looking fresh for longer. Undoubtedly human health is now under the possession of formalin, in our country about 400 tons formalin is being imported which are goes to human stomach, even though for laboratory or research purposes 100 tons of Formalin is quite enough, 80% of the imported formalin being added to food only for business purposes (Table 5).
Table 5: Toxic elements in noxious addition of food/additives
(Mirza et.al, 2014; Zubair et.al, 2013; Mohammad S, 2018; Arifur et.al, 2015; Nishat, 2017; Abu, 2013; Nehreen et.al, 2016; Newsdesk, 2018, Shafkat, 2013; Staff Correspondent, 2011; Sharifa et.al, 2014, Rajib, 2015; Editorial, 2014; Mahboob, 2015)
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