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No time to waste

  • Published at 05:56 pm December 17th, 2018
GLOBE
Photo: BIGSTOCK

Why are factories still allowed to use our rivers as their personal trash cans?

Plastic waste poses one of the biggest threats to the environment, with more than eight million tons of plastic making its way into our oceans every year. 

Nowhere is the extent of this pollution more evident than in the Bay of Bengal, where plastic waste dumping has created a sea brimming with marine litter and debris. 

This should come as no surprise considering the main source of the waste: According to a commendable survey carried out by the Department of Environment, sewage and municipal and industrial waste constitute 80% of the litter found on beaches, brought in by the rivers which call Bangladesh their home. 

While littering remains a big part of the problem, which needs to be tackled through awareness campaigns, what the DoE’s survey highlights is Bangladesh’s poor waste management system and even poorer placement of its various industries. 

In this day and age, such reckless disregard for the environment is unacceptable, armed as we are with the knowledge of the detrimental effects of pollution and Bangladesh’s position of vulnerability to climate change. 

The current situation begs the question: Why are factories still allowed to use our rivers as their personal trash cans, with little to no accountability? 

It is nothing short of irresponsible for respective city councils and concerned authorities to have failed to act regarding this brewing environmental crisis, leaving polluters unprosecuted and lacking a proper waste management solution, even after all this time. 

The need for solutions is imminent, as our rivers lie dying, our marine life diminishes, and our eco-system borders on the brink of collapse, with a viable alternative for plastic still out of reach. 

While governmental initiatives such as the 3R policy -- reduce, reuse, and recycle -- are crucial steps in the right direction, this is nowhere near enough to ensure that this environmental crisis is averted. 

We need to come down hard on pollution from every angle -- polluters and pollutants -- and we need to start acting immediately.