No respite from plastic pollution

Sadiqur Rahman | Updated at 11:59pm on June 04, 2018


A man collects environmentally hazardous plastic bottles dumped into Kadamtali canal in Dhaka on Monday. — Sony Ramany

Plastic pollution increased in Bangladesh though ‘Beat Plastic Pollution, If you can’t reuse it, refuse it,’ is this year’s theme for the celebration of World Environment Day.
Plastic food packages dumped in landfills polluted environment, soil and water, environmentalists told New Age.
Environmental researchers expressed concern over an increasing use of plastics for packaging perishable foods.
Sellers prefer plastic packaging to keep foods ‘factory fresh’ and due to its lost cost.
But the non-degradable plastics already left devastating consequences on the environment.
City corporations and municipalities across the country are not yet ready to adopt the strategy of reduce, reuse and recycle, in short the 3R strategy formulated in 2010 by the by the Department of Environment.
The 3RStrategy requires the use of dustbins of three colours for separating plastic and other non-degradable wastes from biodegradable ones while collecting domestic litter.
‘Beat Plastic Pollution’, the theme for World Environment Day 2018, is a call to come together to combat one of the great contemporary environmental challenges.
The theme of World Environment Day 2018 invites everyone to consider how to bring changes in daily lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on natural places, wildlife and public health.
Environmentalists launched campaign: Bring your own shopping bags to the supermarket; pressure food suppliers to use non-plastic packaging; refuse plastic cutlery
While gathering information about food products marketed in the capital New Age found local food brands mostly in non-degradable plastic-packs.
Retail chain outlet Swapno executives said that they sell approximately 2,500 branded food products across the country.
At a Swapno outlet at Farmgate in the capital, only some of the imported fruit juices were in paperboard packs while many other food products on display including biscuits, noodles, pasta, puffed rice, pickles, jelly, vermicelli, chips, chanachur, breads, chocolates, candies, cakes, nuggets, select rice varieties, pulses, sugar, salt, cooking oils, liquid as well as powdered milk, powered spices were in plastic packs.
‘Do not litter’ inscribed on many food packs are seldom followed by buyers, said the capital’s waste management officials.
A study by Waste Concern published in 2015 shows that plastic wastes rapidly increased in Bangladesh’s urban centres.
In 2014, the share of plastic wastes dumped at landfills rose to 8.45 per cent from 5.25 per cent in 2005, it shows.
Waste Concern’s executive director Abu Hasnat Md Maqsood Sinha said the share of plastic waste rose further by 2018 as consumers love to buy food products in plastic packs.
Md Akhter Hossain Khan, Dhaka University professor of soil, water and environment said he found usually all plastic packs were thrown away, and therefore, somehow they were dumped in low lying areas and landfill, to cause environmental pollution as well as choking drainage outlets.
Maqsood called for recycling plastic wastes by separating them from biodegradable litters.
Dhaka South City Corporation’s chief waste management officer air commodore Zahid Hossain said that the use of dustbins of three colours was at the planning stage.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University hepatology professor Mamun Al Mahtab described d plastic as a hazardous element for nature as it does degrade even in centuries.
If the plastic enters human body in any form it might cause cancer, critical lunch diseases, food poisoning and other deadly diseases.
The law of the land requires local government bodies including city corporations and municipalities to manage solid waste while the Department of Environment is mandated to check environmental pollution.
Huge quantity of plastic wastes choking drains, canals, rivers, or littered on roads and crop fields were used to package food items, medicines, furniture and other goods before they were thrown away carelessly.
On June26, Bangladesh will celebrate the World Environment Day, possibly because this country could not beat plastic pollution.
The rest of the world, however, celebrates the day today to uphold the theme ‘Beat Plastic Pollution.’
“Beat Plastic Pollution”, the theme for World Environment Day 2018, is a call to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time.
The theme invites all to consider how to bring changes ‘in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife – and our own health’.