Dhaka’s largest waste site: photographs of Matuail landfill


Reach for the sky

Four thousand tonnes of waste are deposited at Matuail Landfill in the southern outskirts of Bangladesh’s teeming capital every day.  Matuail is the largest waste site in Dhaka as it is responsible for 65 percent of the total waste generated.  However, according to a 15 month study conducted in 2003 by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), only 44 percent of all waste generated is collected.  That means that 1,200 tonnes of garbage swamps Dhaka’s public places every day.  When garbage is illegally deposited into waterways, the fisherman lose their livelihood; and the fish, their habitat.

JICA’s urged Dhaka City Corporation, a self-governing corporation that is associated with the task of running the affairs of the city since 1864, to increase the scope of its waste maintenance facilities in order to combat the odour, drain clogging, pollution and mosquitoes that afflicts many parts of Dhaka.  Last week the State Minister for Environment and Forests Dr Hasan Mahmud announced that two household waste management projects will begin in early 2011 on a pilot basis.

These photographs depict the tough conditions faced by waste management workers at Matuail Landfill.  Each worker earns around Tk 150 (US$2) per day.


A beautiful young girl in an ugly place


Before the dust settles


Boy with basket


Nasir Uddin

Hello Jessica,

This is a great blog and great image. My name is Nasir Uddin and I am the Vice President of em[POWER] Energy Group. I found your blog through one of my intern who is working on a project that I am directing from the US. We are a non-profit organization doing work in Matuail Landfill. Please see our website for more information. I would love to learn more about you and can see you being a great support for our initiatives. We are involved in many ways! I look forward to hearing back from you.

Thank you,

Nasir Uddin
nasiruddin06@gmail.com or nuddin@empowerenergygroup.org

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This information helps me to do work with waste dumping people, garbage collector



Wow that was strange. I just wrote an extremely long comment but
after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again.
Anyhow, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

Jessica Mudditt

Sorry to hear that – would have been great to have read your comment in full. Hate it when that happens! And thanks.

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Jessica Mudditt is an Australian freelance journalist whose articles have been published by The Economist, BBC, CNN, Marie Claire, GQ and Australian Geographic.





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