September 23, 2022

Make every effort to fight against the plastic threat

Plastic, a substance made from the waste found during the processing of crude oil and natural gas in the early 1930s, is now a global threat to the environment and life. Once admired for its durability, this universal packaging material has now become a curse because, unlike most other substances in everyday use, it does not mix with the earth or degrade. Now, microplastics have found their way into the food chains of humans and other animals, including those in ponds, lakes, rivers and oceans, taking the threat to life to a new level.

According to a World Bank (WB) study, over the past 15 years, the use of plastic products in the country has tripled from 3.0 kg per capita per year in 2005 to 9.0 kg in 2020. Of the approximately 0.1 million tons of plastic used in the country in 2020, only 31% was recycled, while the rest was mismanaged, meaning that these (mismanaged) plastic products, Disposable polythene bags, in particular, have been dumped everywhere – on roads, in sewers, in landfills and in bodies of water. How alarmingly, at 24 kg per capita per year in 2020, the capital’s plastic consumption was almost three times the national average that year! But of this huge amount of plastic waste (about 646 tons) that Dhaka generates every day, only 37.2% is properly managed, ie recycled. Notably, in European countries, the average plastic consumption per capita is well over 100 kg than in Bangladesh. But Bangladesh is still among the most plastic-polluted countries due to its poor management of plastic waste.

In this regard, reports from the port city of Chattogram on plastic pollution are an additional source of concern. About 3,000 tons of waste that the port city produces daily, 8.3%, or 249 tons, is plastic waste. Around 44% of this plastic waste, mostly polyethylene products, is collected and deposited in landfills, while the remaining 56%, uncollected, is left to clog the port city’s drains and canals leading to its chronic waterlogging. . A recent study by the Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology (CUET) found that, among other causes, a lack of public awareness of the dangers of plastic pollution, a shortage of trash cans, the burning of plastic products plastic/polyethylene and a lack of enforcement. relevant laws to protect the environment are at the root of the port city’s problems related to plastic pollution. But Bangladesh shouldn’t have been in such a hellhole born of mismanaged plastic waste. It was the first country in the world to ban plastic shopping bags two decades ago (in 2002). This brings us to the question of the sustainable management of plastic waste.

On this point, we learn that the government has endorsed a national action plan for the sustainable management of plastic under the heading “roadmap” to protect the environment. In addition, the Ministry of the Environment recently published a notice in the official gazette to this effect. The so-called “roadmap”, intended to rid coastal areas of hazardous single-use plastic, as stated, is obviously a step in the right direction. Its policy of circular plastic use based on what it calls a 3R strategy (reduce, reuse, recycle) is, by all appearances, a sustainable way to rid the environment of the plastic threat. However, the crucial point is to treat the plastic threat as an emergency and to do everything possible to eliminate it from the environment.