Even after 17 years of a ban on polythene bags, they are still found throughout our streets
The spectre of plastic bags keeps coming back to haunt us.
The science is clear about the fact that polythene bags, which account for a large portion of plastic pollution in the country, are deadly for the environment.
Polythene bags do not break down into the soil, with the unfortunate result being that animals eat them and often choke and die.
Aside from harming the environment, polythene bags are also a civil nuisance. Runoff water collects and carries discarded bags and ultimately washes them into the sewers.
Once in these sewers, the bags often form clumps with other types of debris, and ultimately block the flow of water.
The port city, regrettably, has become the poster child of water-logging in the country -- Chittagong is still to win its battle against polythene bags in spite of a ban.
On August 27, the Department of Environment seized one ton of banned polythene bags from a polythene manufacturing company after conducting a drive at Aturar Depot area in the city.
No doubt, the problem plagues our capital city as well.
Even after 17 years of a ban on polythene bags, they are still found throughout our streets. Alternatives such as jute bags, reusable cloth bags, and even jute-based poly-bags have been suggested, but progress on that front has been too slow.
It is time for our government to seriously invest in jute-based and other alternatives to polythene bags so that they become affordable.
This has to be coupled with robust implementation of the current laws against polythene use and production. Used together, these steps can ensure that our environment and our cities are protected, and Bangladesh can hope for a greener future.