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Reduce, reuse, recycle

  • Published at 12:00 am May 28th, 2019
Waste
Photo: MEHEDI HASAN

This is not the sort of increase that Bangladesh should be proud of

Among the numerous ways that people around the world continue to tarnish the environment, plastic pollution surely ranks among the most persistently damaging.

The main causes of the environmental and health risks associated with plastic are the inadequate and ineffective recycling mechanisms of used plastic materials -- plastic takes over 400 years to degrade, which means that all the plastic ever dumped that has not been recycled or destroyed, remains in the same form.

Over the last three decades, the use of plastic in Bangladesh -- according to statistics from Poribesh Bachao Andolon -- has increased about 80 times, and is only expected to rise in the future.

This is not the sort of increase that Bangladesh should be proud of.

While it is true that Bangladesh is far from being a significant polluter globally, what cannot be doubted is that the excessive use of plastic and its inadequate recycling is part of the global problem of climate change, and Bangladesh remains among the most vulnerable nations to its effects.

Therefore, Bangladesh must look to halt this trajectory of increased plastic use, and develop better recycling mechanisms -- doing so provides the nation with tangible benefits and advantages.

Not only will this have a positive impact on the local environment -- with cleaner roads and water bodies -- but there is also the possibility to replace plastic bags and other products with those made with jute, greatly assisting our floundering jute industry and incentivizing its revival.

Additionally, it sends a message to the rest of the world: Despite being victims of climate change because of the negligence of richer economies, the citizens of Bangladesh possess the conscience required to do their part in saving the planet.