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Mahadi Hasan Badhon

Despite the fact that electronic wastes (e-wastes) are hazardous to public health and environment, no effective system has developed in the country to ensure proper management of these pollutants.

According to various study findings, e-wastes account for 40 percent of lead and 70 percent of heavy metals found in landfills and they are responsible for groundwater contamination, air pollution and soil acidification.

It is also reported that discarded electronic products like television, mobile phone, electric bulb, computer, AC, fridges contain detrimental materials e.g. mercury, chromium, cadmium, lead, halogenated constituents (CFSs), etc, which are very harmful for our environment as well as human health.

Against this backdrop, experts while talking to Bangladesh Post on the issue have stressed the need for establishing a system to ensure specific treatment and management of e-wastes prior to their final disposal. They have also suggested enacting a proper policy on electronic waste management in Bangladesh.

Dr Lelin Chowdhury, joint general secretary of Paribesh Bachao Andolon (POBA) told Bangladesh Post, “Electronic wastes hinder our ecological balance. They create magnetic radiation in the soil and further radiation in trees and humans. Therefore, it causes long term human health damage, like cancer as well as other long term diseases.”

He also advised the authorities concerned to take necessary steps for recycling and proper management of those hazardous wastes.

According to a research by Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO), “15 percent of child workers die for engaging in recycling process of e-waste and its further effects. More than 83 percent of them, who are exposed to toxic materials, become sick and live with long term diseases.”

Dr Hafiza Khatun, chairman of geography and environmental science department of University of Dhaka, said, “Electronic waste is a concern not only for our country, but also for the world. Firstly, e-wastes are non-degradable elements, which do not rot in the ground. Secondly, they contain various types of toxic chemicals and heavy metals. Improper disposal of those waste end up in the soil, water and ultimately damages our body through foods.”

Hafiza Khatun also suggested enacting a proper policy on electronic waste management as our neighbouring countries have proper law in this regard.

According to a 2016 research by ESDO, every year Bangladesh generates roughly 1.24 million metric tonnes of e-waste from televisions, computers, mobile phones, CFL bulbs, mercury bulbs, AC, etc.

Meanwhile statistics of BTRC say the total number of mobile phone subscribers has reached 150.945 million at the end of June 2018. If we assume these phones have a lifespan of two-three years, these phones will generate an alarming amount of e-waste in the form of mercury, silicon, cadmium, lead, chromium and more.

Management Accountants of Bangladesh (ICMAB) in their study titled “E-waste management: A study on legal framework and institutional preparedness in Bangladesh” found that most of the e-waste dumping and storage sites of Dhaka city are located in Nimtali, Dholaikhal and Jinjira of Dhaka South City Corporation.

While visiting Nimtali and Dholaikhal area in the capital, this correspondent found some workers including children separating e-wastes from other wastes in an insecure environment.

They were not using hand-gloves, masks, and other protective equipment needed in recycling work. They were not even aware of this.

Executive Engineer of waste management department of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) AHM Abdulla Harun told Bangladesh Post that they did not have the authority over e-waste management or mechanism to separate e-wastes from regular solid wastes.

Mentionable, the DSCC planned setting up an e-waste recycling and management system two years ago but latter scraped the plan.

“Currently, DSCC have no e-waste management system. About one and half years ago, we spoke with a Japanese e-waste management company named ‘Re-tem Corporation’ to build an e-waste dumping plant. But our initiative was not succeed due to high cost of this plant,” said AHM Abdulla Harun.

Bangladesh is a signatory to the Basel Convention on Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Waste.

Currently there is no specific regulation dealing with  e-waste management. However Ministry of

Environment and Forests (MoEF) is in the process of formulating the rules on handling of e-waste. In the

National 3R strategy for waste management (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), the  e-waste management

issue is emphasized.

Bangladesh is a signatory to the Basel Convention on Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Waste.

Currently there is no specific regulation dealing with  e-waste management. However Ministry of

Environment and Forests (MoEF) is in the process of formulating the rules on handling of e-waste. In the

National 3R strategy for waste management (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), the  e-waste management

issue is emphasized.

Bangladesh is a signatory to the Basel Convention on Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Waste.

Currently there is no specific regulation dealing with  e-waste management. However Ministry of

Environment and Forests (MoEF) is in the process of formulating the rules on handling of e-waste. In the

National 3R strategy for waste management (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), the  e-waste management

issue is emphasized.

Bangladesh is a signatory to the Basel Convention on Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Waste.

Currently there is no specific regulation dealing with  e-waste management. However Ministry of

Environment and Forests (MoEF) is in the process of formulating the rules on handling of e-waste. In the

National 3R strategy for waste management (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), the  e-waste management

issue is emphasized.

According to sources, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) is in the process of formulating a law titled “Electronic and Electrical Waste Management Rule”.

The proposed law is awaiting the ministry’s approval, Md Tajminur Rahman, deputy director of the Department of Environment said, “Our job is now to provide clearance to the third-party organizations that work with e-waste management.”

“Then they collect, separate and recycle the wastes,” he said.

“When major companies such as Grameenphone or Banglalink decide to sell their e-waste to third party waste management firms, we inspect those materials and then provide them with a No-Objection-Certificate (NOC). After that they can sell their wastes to licensed recycling companies,” Tajminur Rahman added.