Positive Steps Taken to Address Plastic Pollution in Bangladesh

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In a remarkable turn of events, businesses in Bangladesh are seeking bank loans to develop bio-degradable alternative products, signalling a shift toward a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future. The move comes in response to the growing concern over plastic pollution, which poses a significant threat to ecosystems worldwide.

A seminar titled “Plastic Pollution in Forests and Other Natural Ecosystem: Way Forward” was jointly organized by the Arannayk Foundation and the Institution of Foresters Bangladesh (IFB) on Wednesday at the Parjatan Bhaban in Dhaka. Participants voiced their concerns about the harmful impact of plastic industries on the environment and called for increased financing for biodegradable production initiatives.

During the open discussion, speakers highlighted the unfortunate reality that many eco-friendly ventures struggle to secure bank loans, while plastic industries continue to receive financial support. They emphasized the urgent need to redirect financing towards sustainable alternatives and reduce reliance on plastic products.

Furthermore, there was a strong call to ban the transportation of single-use plastics to sensitive areas such as Saint Martin Island and the Sundarbans. These pristine natural habitats face mounting challenges due to the accumulation of plastic waste, hindering the growth of plants and posing a threat to the delicate balance of their ecosystems.

Speaking as the Chief Guest, Dr. Farhina Ahmed, Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, assured attendees that her ministry has formulated policies to protect Saint Martin Island. She emphasized the government’s commitment to green growth and sustainable development, citing the importance of intra-generational equity, intergenerational equity, and transboundary equity.

Md. Iqbal Abdullah Harun, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, also addressed the gathering as a Special Guest. He stressed the need for a circular economy to reduce plastic pollution and pledged future incentives for eco-friendly business ventures.

Md. Amir Hosain Chowdhury, Chief Conservator of Forest, joined the event as a special guest and highlighted the pressing need for a collaborative effort between the government and private sectors to combat plastic pollution in the Sundarbans. He emphasized the critical role played by these ecosystems and urged immediate action to curb the influx of plastic waste.

Rakibul Hasan Mukul, Executive Director of the Arannayk Foundation, delivered the opening remarks, drawing attention to the role of municipalities and government regulators in contributing to plastic pollution. He highlighted the urgency of the situation and the need to protect forests, rivers, and bays from the dangers posed by plastic waste.

The seminar concluded with closing remarks from Istiaq Uddin Ahmad, the president of IFB and former Chief Conservator of Forest, who expressed concern about Bangladesh’s lag in plastic waste management. He emphasized the importance of accountability in fulfilling environmental conservation roles and urged stakeholders to prioritize sustainable practices.

During the seminar, two papers were presented by Dr. Shahriar Hossain, Secretary General of the ESDO, and Mostafa Yousuf, Staff Correspondent of the Daily Star. The papers shed light on the alarming increase in plastic consumption and its detrimental impact on ecosystems. They recommended thorough preparation ahead of the international treaty on combatting plastic pollution, set to be signed in 2025.

These recent discussions and initiatives represent a significant step forward in tackling plastic pollution in Bangladesh. By seeking bank loans for biodegradable alternatives and advocating for the banning of single-use plastics in sensitive areas, businesses and environmental organizations are actively working toward a greener, cleaner future. With continued collaboration and efforts from all stakeholders, Bangladesh can become a global model in combating plastic pollution and preserving its precious natural ecosystems.

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