Although several policies have been identified by independent experts, no legal framework exists that enforces the implementation of an ecosystem which empowers a greener trajectory, they say
For a greener and sustainable economy, Bangladesh needs to implement a legal policy framework that not only incentivizes greener industries, but also discourages environmental degradation and holds stakeholders accountable, say experts.
They made the remarks during a virtual panel discussion titled “Build Back a Greener Bangladesh,” hosted by the Policy Research Institute (PRI) on Sunday.
Although several policies have been identified by independent experts, no legal framework exists that enforces the implementation of an ecosystem which empowers a greener trajectory, they said.
The discussants added that Bangladesh also needs to identify effective and transparent measuring tools that track progress realistically.
According to Eun Joo Yi, senior environmental specialist at the World bank Group, Bangladesh ranked 162nd out of 180 most polluted countries as per the 2020 Environmental Performance Index (EPI). “This came with an economic loss of approximately $6.5 billion, or 3.4% of the GDP, in Dhaka alone,” Yi added.
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Additionally, $1.44 billion, which is 0.7% of the national GDP, was lost because of air and water pollution that nearly caused 20% of all deaths in Bangladesh.
It is also a threat to global competitiveness as the Global Competitiveness Report 2019 identified environmental pollution as a major emerging risk factor for the country, induced by challenges from stricter compliance requirements.
Bangladesh has had significant economic growth, but at the cost of environmental degradation, resulting in negative health effects on the economy and natural capital, the discussants noted.
Hence, they suggested that the nation needs to focus on development that takes social and inclusive green-growth into account.
“At its very inception Bangladesh used to be a greener economy than what it currently is, with 60% of its GDP generated from agriculture in 1972,” said Dr Zaidi Sattar, chairman of PRI.
“But rapid economic growth and industrial shift induced by globalization have had massive environmental impacts,” he added.
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Industrialization has been a major factor for environmental degradation, but it is critically bound into the socio-economic aspects of any nation entailing- job creation, financial security and others, the speakers said.
Hence, the industrialization process should be made greener and sustainable, as elimination would induce massive disruptions.
Professor Dr Ainun Nishat, Ainun Nishat is a water resource and climate change specialist, pointed out that to implement expert recommendations of a greener economy, there needs to be an implementable action plan bound by legal framework.
Syed Nasim Manzur, the managing director of Apex Footwear thinks both micro and macro policies need to come together for creating a green economy.
“There is a 10% special income tax rate applicable only for green buildings in RMG which has borne good results. The facility should be extended to all other sectors,” he stated.
Atiur Rahman, former governor of Bangladesh Bank, emphasized incentivizing the dependence of greener and clean energy by overpricing fuel or energy sources that causes environmental degradation and pollution.