STUDY ON THE TRADITIONAL PRACTICES FOR SOLID WASTE RECYCLING IN RURAL HOMES
Mohammed Ataur Rahman, PhD
Centre for Global Environmental Culture (CGEC)
IUBAT—International University of Business Agriculture and Technology
4 Embankment Drive Road, Sector No. 10, Uttara Model Town, Dhaka-1230, Bangladesh
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.iubat.edu
Presented in the International Conference on Solid Waste Management Waste Safe-2009 held on November 9-10, 2009, KUET, Khulna, Bangladesh Website: www.wastesafe.info
Solid wastes are important components for recycling biomass to return the nutrients to their origin. Traditionally, the people of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra basins have been recycling solid wastes for centuries. The practices which are followed here have scientific merit but in most of the cases, the people are ignorant about those facts. The present study was conducted in 90 rural homes of Ishwarganj and Nandail Upazillas under the district of Mymensingh. The objectives of the work were to find out the scientific explanations of the recycling practices. The study showed that the traditional procedures which are being applied on trial-and-error basis got the effective result of supplementing organic materials to the soil. Although these effective practices have been used generation after generation, in-depth studies were not carried out. This study has uncovered the scientific reasons behind many of the traditional practices of solid waste management. Chemical analyses revealed that most of the macro-nutrients, namely potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen, calcium, sulphur, magnesium, iron and total organic matter contents were not depleted; rather, the total organic matter contents increased significantly after the recycling. This kind of rural home-based and short-cycled solid waste management ensures zero depletion of organic soil content.
Civilization began when nomads first took shelter in permanent homes and started cultivating the earth. Home became their centre of all activities. They used to collect their livelihoods from the surroundings, learnt to process and store them for their use in their homes. During the processing and utilization, the un-utilized remaining called the ‘wastes’ were left, thrown away or stored for degradation and recycling.
From the experience, people acquired knowledge for easy and safe recycling methods for better utilization of wastes in favor of natural environment. Home is a microenvironment and fulfils an ecosystem.
Traditionally, the inhabitants of the Ganges and Brahmaputra Plains were more conscious about hygiene, natural resources and agricultural practices and they were used to practice simple methods in their homesteads knowingly on unknowingly, which are really important and scientifically rich even during this advanced technological era.
However, with the advancement of mechanization and industrialization and the influences of western culture, many of the traditional cultural practices have lost their importance and are not in use by the common people. Therefore, it is essential to collect the age-old practices used by the common people for waste management and biomass recycling. These should be studied to investigate their scientific merit and re-establish their positive roles in the present complicated situation aroused by the modern cultures, especially, by the chemicals and shortcut cultures. With this aim, Centre for Global Environmental Culture (CGEC) of IUBAT—International University of Business Agriculture and Technology along with Homestead Cropping and Ecoagriculture Research Center for Sustainable Rural Development
(HCERCSRD) conducted the present study in a few villages of Mymensingh in the Brahmaputra Basin.
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