Investing in Zero Waste programmes and policies can create a good number of green jobs, in addition to the known benefits of reducing pollution and improving community health in Dhaka city, according to a new study.
If Dhaka were to recover 80 percent of recyclable and organic material in its waste stream, the city could create over 6,000 new jobs, finds the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) in its study on Tuesday.
This report comes as municipal governments across the world are making critical investment decisions to increase climate resilience and rebuild local economies damaged by the COVID-19 crisis.
The new paper is a meta-analysis of 36 studies spanning 16 countries that examined the job creation potential of various waste management strategies such as repair/reuse, recycling, composting, incineration and landfill.
Zero Waste strategies score highest on environmental benefits and create the most jobs of any waste management approach: Reuse creates over 200 times as many jobs as landfills and incinerators, recycling creates around 70 times as many jobs as landfills and incinerators and remanufacturing creates almost 30 times as many jobs as landfills and incinerators, read the study.
Zero Waste is a comprehensive waste management approach that prioritises waste reduction and material recovery, with the ultimate aim of creating a circular economy, shrinking waste disposal to zero.
In contrast, disposal-based systems rely on incineration (“waste to energy”) and landfills to handle the majority of the waste stream, resulting in higher economic costs and environmental consequences, it continued.
Environment and Social Development Organizations (ESDO), has the initiative to build a “Zero Waste community/city” in Dhaka.
150 households have already started Zero Waste community-building practice in Lalmatia, leading to a 40-60 per cent reduction of kitchen waste, which has been turned into organic compost.
ESDO’s initiative has created job opportunities for 60 waste collectors, and the organization plans to train them on how to collect waste safely in the proper way.
Report co-author Dr Neil Tangri, Science and Policy Director at GAIA, said “with the world still reeling from the pandemic, job creation is a top priority. Zero Waste offers a strategy to create good jobs and reduce pollution, without breaking the bank. It’s a triple win for the economy, the environment, and the city”.
Dr Shahriar Hossain, Secretary General at ESDO said that this model community will help to motivate others and lead to building Zero Waste cities. He also added, “This model can be replicated in the South Asian region.
“The landfills of Dhaka city have already reached its saturation point. This project will benefit Dhaka city as waste will not reach landfills anymore” said Md. Atiqul Islam, Mayor, Dhaka North City Corporation.