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HC to govt: Ban single use plastic products and enforce polythene ban

  • Published at 06:19 pm January 6th, 2020
A man and a woman sorts out plastic bottles after they are collected from roadsides and garbage bins Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

3,744 tons of single use plastic produced annually

The High Court on Monday directed the authorities concerned to ban single use plastic products in coastal areas, hotels, motels, and restaurants across the country within the next one year.

The High Court bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Khandaker Diliruzzaman gave the order on Monday, reports BSS.

The order was issued following a writ petition jointly filed by 11 rights organizations, including the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) on December 17, 2019.

Advocates Syeda Rezwana Hasan and Syed Ahmed Kabir appeared for the writ petitioners, while Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Saiful Khaled stood for the state during the hearing.

The court also ordered the authorities concerned to strictly enforce the ban on polythene use across the country with proper monitoring.

Advocate Kabir said the use of polythene is a total violation of the Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act as polythene was banned in 2002.

But, he said, the use of plastic products like drinking straws, cotton buds, food packaging, food containers, bottles, plates, plastic cutlery, and plastic bags are on the rise in the country, polluting the environment.

The plastic waste carried by the country’s 54 rivers and generated in coastal regions are dumped into the Bay of Bengal, posing a threat to marine resources and biodiversity, Kabir said.

He said, following the hearing of the writ, the court issued a rule asking the authorities concerned to explain why their inaction in imposing restrictions on the use of plastic products should not be declared illegal.

The court also directed the authorities concerned to respond by January 5, 2021, about what actions are taken to stop plastic use.

Secretaries to Ministry of Industries, Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB), Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry, chairman of Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BPGMEA), and three others were made respondents to the rule and were asked to submit a report within a year.

3,744 tons of single use plastic produced annually

An estimated 312 tons of single use plastic is produced every month in Bangladesh, posing a serious threat to the nation’s health and the environment, according to a report.

The report, “Stop using single use plastic to protect human health and Environment” released by the Environment and Social Development Organization (Esdo) in November  2018, found that 3,744 tons of single use plastic is produced nationwide per annum.

In Old Dhaka alone, around 250 tons of non recyclable products such as straws and plastic cutlery are being sold every month, it said.

The report found that among the produced plastics, approximately 80-85% are discarded being used only once, and end up in drains, canals, and rivers, creating massive pollution in the rivers which eventually ends up in the Bay of Bengal.

The report revealed that only five manufacturers make around 97.5 million pieces of products every month, which weigh a combined 195 tons.

Single use plastics include drinking straws, plastic cotton buds, sachets, food packaging, and plastic bags. In the slow process of their decomposition, the plastics release toxic chemicals which are now being detected in human bloodstreams and may cause cancer, infertility, birth defects, and many other ailments.