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Amin Bazar landfill threatens wetlands and farmers, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Since 2005, the city of Dhaka has been using a wetland area for waste dumping, supported by international cooperation. This has violated environmental laws and caused damages to the ecosystem and agriculture. Lately a waste-to-energy plant was proposed.


In 2005 the city of Dhaka acquired land to construct a landfill in the area of Amin Bazar, located in the northwest of Dhaka. This was highly controversial as the area was marked as flood zone and clearly considered unsuitable for the dumping of waste, but nevertheless the project went ahead.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Amin Bazar landfill threatens wetlands and farmers, Dhaka, Bangladesh
State or province:Dhaka
Location of conflict:Amin Bazar, Savar
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Waste privatisation conflicts / waste-picker access to waste
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific commodities:Land
Domestic municipal waste
Industrial waste
Recycled Metals
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The City of Dhaka produces almost 4,500 tonnes of household wastes everyday. The only landfill site that existed in the country till 2006 is the site in Matuail that was funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Debt Cancellation Fund (JDCF). This site, according to the DCC, was inadequate to deal with all the wastes that the City produced and hence, it entered into an agreement with JICA to develop another land fill in the west side of Dhaka in the moujas (land administrative area) of Konda and Baliarpur in Amin Bazar, Dhaka. This agreement supported the project titled “Dhaka Mohanogoreer Bibhinno Elakar Obokatthamo o Paribesh Unnayan Prokolpa” (Project for Infrustrcture and Environment Development of Different Areas of Dhaka City) the implementation cost of which was 65 crore taka. According to DCC, this land fill will dispose off 1700-1800 tonnes of wastes in a hygienic way, claimed the DCC. Conditional ‘site clearance’ for the Project was given by the DoE on the basis of an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) Report prepared by e private developer named Sheltech Consultants (Pvt.) Limited, that although claimed to have consulted people, could not produce any documents in support. Although Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) signed agreement to do the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the project for obtaining final approval, BUET subsequently declined to do the same on the ground that the area is a flood flow zone. Wastes are being dumped into the site since 2005 without any structural containment facilities as pledged in the Project document. A case in pending against selection of the site as a water dumping site in violation of the MP.

Project area:21.85 hectares
Level of Investment for the conflictive projectaprox 7,738,095 USD
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:aprox 1,387,430
Start of the conflict:17/03/2004
Company names or state enterprises:Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) from Bangladesh
Relevant government actors:Secretaries, Ministry of Land: Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and Cooperatives; Ministry of Environment and Forest; Ministry of Housing and Public Works; Mayor, Dhaka City Corporation; Chairman, RAJUK- Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Town Improvement Authority); Director General and Director (Dhaka Division), Department of Environment; Deputy Commissioner, Dhaka; Project Director, Dhaka Mohanogoreer Bibhinno Elakar Obokatthamo o Paribesh Unnayan Prokolpa Project for (Infrastructure and Environment Development of Different Areas of Dhaka City)
International and Finance InstitutionsJapan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) from Japan
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA)

Waste Concern
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Other Environmental impacts, Global warming, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Other Environmental impactsContamination of ground water through leeching
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Infectious diseases, Other Health impacts, Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents
Other Health impactsOdor, breathing difficulty, and presence of foreign elements spreading infectious diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts, Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights
Other socio-economic impactsThe fact that illegalities of a government project were treated differently was hugely demotivating for local people and even for local ejos
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (undecided)
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Under negotiation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Proposal and development of alternatives:A petition was filed by a local resident and a national NGO called BELA-Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association. The case challenged the no objection letters, clearances, and authorizations given in favour of the Waste Dumping Depo Project of DCC violating all applicable laws and legal prohibitions. The letter of Rajuk, the Town Improvement Authority dated 22.2.2004, the Site Clearance letter of the Department of Environment dated 6.1.2005 purporting to allow conversion /use of flood flow zone and agriculture lands of Mouza Baliarpur and Konda as Waste Dumping Depot have been challenged. Government has been asked to explain why it shall not be directed to frame appropriate Rules under the Environment Conservation Act and the Dhaka City Corporation Ordinance prescribing the procedure for waste management.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Although there is no injunction at the moment on the implementation of the project and wastes are being dumped regularly at the site, the case is not over yet. The fact that the DCC has failed to manage the site in an environmentally sound manner is now obvious. The devastation of the local ecology and the sufferings of the local people are also clearly manifested. This is giving a hope that the Court may conclude on a positive note.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

Constitution of People’s Republic of Bangladesh; Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act, 1995 (Act No. I of 1995) and the Environment Conservation Rules, 1997 made thereunder; Town Improvement Act, 1953; Act No. XXXVI of 2000, the Dhaka City Corporation Ordinance, 1983, and the Master Plan of Dhaka City (2005-2015)
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References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Zahur, M., Otoma, S. (2013): Informal Waste Recycling Activities: A Case Study of Dhaka City, Bangladesh. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of Japan Society of Material Cycles and Waste Management. Session ID : FA-5.
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Bhadra, S. (2019): Aminbazar's wasteland story. The Business Standard, 07.10.2019.
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Khan, M. (2018): Where does all our waste end up?. The Daily Star, 08.06.2018. (Online, last accessed: 17.04.2020)
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Bouldry, T. (2014): Bangla’s Incarnation.
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Devnath, B. (2020): Aminbazar, the landfill that ruined lives. The Business Standard, 11.03.2020.
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Al Amin, M. (2019): A landfill in flood flow zone. Dhaka Tribune, 20.08.2019.
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Other documents

Amin Bazar Savar Amin Bazar Order
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Other comments:This posting shall be updated when the matter is finally heard
Meta information
Contributor:Syeda Rizwana Hasan (BELA, [email protected]); Max Stoisser (Update 2020)
Last update27/05/2020
Conflict ID:3729
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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