The Eid of sacrifice is less than a week away. The cattle are arriving, tickets are being booked and recipes are being dusted out. But what about cleaning-up? What about the bloody entrails and the all engulfing smell of decay that follow? We should be used to it, after all have not we been doing it the same way for as long as anyone can remember?
As for the lucky ones leaving the city for celebrations, they thank their stars for their absence — this is not their problem!
A SOLUTION CALLED SLAUGHTERHOUSE
To address this particular festivity centred mess, slaughterhouses have always played a crucial role in municipalities across the world. In Dhaka, the two City Corporations have a total of five slaughterhouses between them. Considering the current state of disrepair and neglect, as well as being placed out-of-the-way, the general population have little to no intention of going there. Furthermore, these are simply not enough to handle the pressure during the event. While the daily capacity is officially 100-150 animals for each slaughterhouse, the lack of equipment and manpower has hampered the potential. Till now, the modern, functional slaughterhouse in Dhaka only exists in the scale models and blueprints.
ON A FACTUAL NOTE
According to last year's estimates, 30-40 lakh animals were sacrificed throughout the country with the capital seeing roughly over three lakh slaughters. The waste from this was clocked at over 30,000 tonnes, which adds to the city's already overflowing waste. Considering the spoilable nature of the waste, it needs immediate clean-up and disposal.
Even with over 6000 designated sacrificial spots across the country in the main cities, most residents had taken care of things the usual way. This year however, all mayors are trying for a stricter policy in waste management during Eid-ul-Azha.
A MISSION IN CLEANLINESS
Although initiatives are yet to be announced, DSCC and DNCC both are gearing up for another Eid-ul-Azha. For 2016, roughly four lakh biodegradable sacks were distributed to collect and clean up the animal waste. Both city corporations, for the last few years have been adamant in maintaining a 48-hour clean-up deadline. While high footfall regions and posh areas got the best of the deal, most localities took care of business as the previous years. The other City Corporations throughout the country are also facing ever-rising figures in waste management compressed within three days.
Would you like a repeat?
With the incessant heavy rains this year, nobody will want to revisit last year's 'river of red.' For those who happen to have a forgotten it amidst the festivities, last Eid-ul-Azha, after a spot of rain, the streets of Dhaka, particularly the ones with clogged up drainage systems (thanks to animal waste blocking the channels) ended up looking like rivers of blood for a few hours.
Time and again residents are reminded to keep the drains and manholes clean from blood and animal parts. They are constantly requested to put up garbage bags filled with discarded parts for easy garbage collection. Only a handful follow the instructions while most choose to do things at their own pace. A continuation of that would be the basis for another road disaster for sure.
Above all else this Eid should be about true sacrifice. Have it in your heart that while you indulge in your meaty delicacies, many will be praying day and night for the slightest respite from the high waters in the flood affected regions. The least a responsible citizen can do is to take care of their own clean up without creating a burden for others. It is the season for sacrifice; do use a bit of your time and resources for a well-rounded Qurbani for the sake of the city you live in.
By Iris Farina