A global expert on landfill management

Civil engineering professor recognized for impact on sustainable urban development

Tuesday, Nov 05, 2019 • Herb Booth : UT Arlington Media Relations

Sahadat Hossain
Sahadat Hossain

Sahadat Hossain’s passion is trash.

The environmental and civil engineering professor at The University of Texas at Arlington is a globally recognized expert on landfill management and what society does with landfills and the trash that is in them.

The International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) recently honored Hossain for his outstanding contributions to the field and his continuous efforts to educate the next generation of waste management professionals.

“I’m honored that the ISWA has recognized the work we’ve done here at UTA at the winter school,” Hossain said. “Many solid waste professionals, students and officials from more than 70 countries have gone through our winter school to learn the modern ways of landfill and sustainable waste management.”

A second ISWA award went to UTA’s Solid Waste Institute for Sustainability (SWIS), which Hossain operates, for five consecutive years of successfully delivering the message about how to manage landfills and make them more efficient. The feedback from previous winter school attendees about the impact of the school on their professional lives was a major contributing factor for winning the award.

The next winter school is Jan. 13-24, 2020, at UTA.

Hossain was honored at the 2019 ISWA Annual Congress Dinner and Awards Ceremony in Bilbao, Spain. The awards were presented in front of about 1,300 participants from more than 80 countries.

Hossain also received the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award from the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok, Thailand, where he earned his master’s degree.

Hossain’s landfill management expertise attracts city officials in Texas and beyond. Currently, the cities of Grand Prairie, Irving and Garland are members of SWIS. He also has done landfill research for the cities of Denton and Corpus Christi.

His latest landfill management education effort has extended overseas to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where 113 people died in a March 2017 landfill slide. The capital city signed a three-year, $5.9 million agreement with Hossain to help solve waste management issues caused by the exponential increase in its population.

ISWA

The agreement is a collaboration among UTA, Addis Ababa University and the city of Addis Ababa. Through it, the SWIS will help and promote Addis Ababa’s waste management facility to become a Center of Excellence. As part of the agreement, SWIS will hire and educate two postdoctoral researchers and five doctoral students each of those five years.

“It’s really building human capacity. We’re giving those researchers and students the knowledge needed to be successful in the world of landfill and waste management,” Hossain said.

His latest project is to work with 15 African countries through the U.S. embassies located in those countries. Hossain hopes to expand SWIS’ reach to southern Asia as well.

“It’s imperative that we receive buy-in from foreign governments and their solid waste officials,” Hossain said. “We’re working with the U.S. State Department to further our mission of adequately managing solid waste in a modern, technologically advanced way.”

Ali Abolmaali, chair of the UTA Department of Civil Engineering, said Hossain’s work is growing in prominence and prestige.

“He has a real love for making this world a better place wherever you are in the world,” Abolmaali said. “The winter school and the landfill technology he’s developed are changing the way people operate landfills. It is truly remarkable.”