Plastic use in Bangladesh has increased three times in the last 15 years. The per capita plastic use in urban areas of the country tripled to 9.0 kg in 2020 from 3.0 kg in 2005, according to a new study.
As per the study report, the annual per capita use of plastic in Dhaka reached 24 kg with about 2.35 percent.
The World Bank carried out the study titled, ‘Towards a Multisectoral Action Plan for Sustainable Plastic Management in Bangladesh’.
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change with the support of the World Bank arranged a ceremony at the Hotel InterContinental in Dhaka on Monday (December 20) to unveil the study report.
Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin attended the function as the chief guest.
The Minister said that Bangladesh is committed to tackling the plastic threat. “Bangladesh was the first country to ban single-use plastic bags in 2002. The government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has felt the necessity of a set of initiatives and subsequent action plans to reduce plastic pollution in association with the World Bank,” he said.
Md Ashraf Uddin, Director General (DG) of Department of Environment (DoE), chaired the event, while Bushra Nishat, environmental specialist of the World Bank, presented the study report.
Md Mostafa Kamal, Secretary of the ministry, Espen Rikter Svendsen, Ambassador of Norway to Bangladesh, Md Jashim Uddin, President of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), Dandan Chen, Acting Country Director of World Bank for Bangladesh, were present at the event as special guests.
In his speech, Md Shahab Uddin said that the action plan emphasizes strengthening 3R (e.g., Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) strategies and targets. The government would implement and execute through overall social inclusion.
He further said, “We should encourage more people to reduce the use of plastic in our daily life. I request everyone to try and use alternatives for plastic products and recycle the ones already in use. If we committedly try our best to reduce the use of plastic, we will reach our goal in time. We can make our cities and country clean and green again.”
While presenting the report during the event, Bushra Nishat said, “The average per capita plastic consumption in European countries is more than 100 kg -- much higher than in Bangladesh. But Bangladesh is one of the top countries with plastic pollution due to mismanagement of plastic waste.”
In her opening speech, Dandan Chen said, “With rapid growth and urbanization, Bangladesh faced a sharp increase in both plastic use and pollution. The Covid-19 pandemic has escalated the problem of mismanaged plastic waste.”
A panel discussion session was held moderated by Md Moniruzzaman, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Md Selim Reza, CEO of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), Narayanan Chandra Dey, Secretary of Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers & Exporters Association, Abu Hasnat Md Maqsood Sinha, Executive Director of Waste Concern and Gawsia Choudhury, Professor at the Department of Zoology of Dhaka University, delivered speeches as panelists.
In his discussion, Md Selim Reza said that due to the increasing quantity of waste in Dhaka city, it has become a lucrative business for so many people, also leading to clashes among groups in many areas over making money in waste management. The DNCC has brought significant changes in positivity managing waste in Dhaka, he added.
The study report provides a blueprint for managing plastic pollution over the short term (2022–2023), medium-term (2024–2026), and long-term (2027–2030), which will require an integrated cross-sectoral approach.
According to the study report, the sustainable management of plastic will be crucial for Bangladesh to tackle the increasing plastic pollution and ensure green growth. The Covdid-19 pandemic has increased the use of packaging and shopping bags. The baseline on plastic waste says only 30 percent of post-consumer packaging waste is collected.
Ten percent of municipal waste consists of plastics (646 tons collected per day), of which 48 percent goes to landfills, 37 percent is recycled, 12 percent ends up in water bodies, and three percent is dumped in drains and unserved areas of the city corporations, says the World Bank report.
An estimated 24,032 - 36,047 tons of plastic waste are disposed of per year in 1,212 hot spots around the water bodies, all of which are connected to the river system, according to the report.
The textile industry in Bangladesh can create huge market demand for recycled PET and play an important role in bringing circularity in the plastic life cycle, the report added.