She was speaking at a World Environment Day function, Tree Fair and Campaign for Tree Plantation, at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) on Wednesday
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasized increasing the use of jute-made products and rejecting plastic ones, as the latter has now become a major threat to the environment globally.
"Plastic has become a huge problem for the world; plastic causes pollution. We have seen it blocking the drainage system, and canals. Wherever there is plastic, you'll find problem there," she said.
The prime minister was speaking at the World Environment Day function, Tree Fair and Campaign for Tree Plantation, at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) on Wednesday, reports UNB.
When the Awami League came to power in 1996, it took steps to ban the use of plastic products and find an alternative, she said.
Stressing the importance of increasing the use of jute-made products, Sheikh Hasina said the government has taken numerous programs to bring back the golden days of jute and its products.
She mentioned that scientists have already invented a jute-made biodegradable poly bag, Sonali Bag.
Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporations (BJMC), a wing of the Ministry of Jute and Textiles, is producing this biodegradable jute product as an alternative to polythene bags.
"We can use it as the substitute for poly bags," she added.
Fashionable bags are now produced from jute, the prime minister said, pointing at the handbag she was carrying.
"This is also made of jute."
She then continued: "New jute-made goods have ushered in huge potential for Bangladesh as the issue of pollution has become global."
Hasina said Bangladesh is a jute-producing country, and its diversified use can be beneficial, both environmentally and economically.
"We can export, we can save money; jute is an environment-friendly item," she added.
The prime minister also urged everyone to go for reusing plastic products or reject it completely, keeping in mind the negative impacts it can have on the environment.
Briefly describing various programs of her government for protecting the environment, she said the government has taken up plans for housing, industry, and economic zones so that the environment can be kept safe. "We've taken the steps so that we can protect the environment properly."
The prime minister said the monitoring and enforcement of the Department of Environment has been strengthened.
The government has already created 468 new posts in addition to the existing 267 posts, she added.
Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud, Deputy Minister Abdullah Al Islam Jakob, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry Dr Hasan Mahmud, and Secretary Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdhury, among others, spoke on the occasion.
The theme of this year's World Environment Day is “Beat plastic pollution” with the slogan “If you can't reuse it, refuse it.”
This year's theme for the National Tree Plantation Campaign and Tree Fair is “Live in Green, Protect the Green and Decorate the City-life-Environment.”
The Prime Minister also inaugurated the “30 lakh saplings plantation” program to pay tribute to the 3 million martyrs who gave their lives during the 1971 Liberation War.
Earlier, she handed over the Bangabandhu Award for Wildlife Conservation, National Environment Award, and Prime Minister's National Award for Tree Plantation at the event.
She also inaugurated the National Environment Fair and National Tree Fair 2018 at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar and visited different stalls at the fair.