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17 January, 2019 12:24:42 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 17 January, 2019 12:29:15 PM
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Plastic pervades all

Anisur Rahman Khan, Dhaka
Plastic pervades all

Frequent use of plastic containers across the country is causing various diseases including cancer. In hotels, restaurants and bakeries, food is being served in plastic pots and containers. For home delivery purposes, too, it is widely used.    

Talking to The Independent, experts say the exponential growth of plastic is threatening the planet’s survival. Ranging from aquatic life to public health, the harmful effects of plastic could be seen everywhere.  

According to the Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers' & Exporters’ Association (BPGMEA), there are about 3,000 plastic goods manufacturing factories in the country. But sources claim that the number might be well over 5,000.

The sources mention that a person in Bangladesh currently uses 7.5 kilograms of plastic items every year, while 1.2 million tonnes of plastic is being produced annually.

“The major question is whether the plastic items are being produced by using fresh raw materials or not. Long-term use of plastic containers or pots may cause side effects on human body,” said Khurshidul Zahid, assistant professor of the Institute of Nutrition and Food Science of Dhaka University.

He also said there are many chemicals in plastic items and that food items may be contaminated if kept inside containers a for long time. “Plastic particles might get dissolved in food items as it is harmful to human health,” he added.

However, the Department of Environment (DoE) has taken initiatives to check these hazardous plastic items.

“Used plastic items or containers are not only harmful for health, but also for the environment. So, we have prepared a roadmap in this regard and will organise seminars and workshops to discuss the harmful effects of plastic items with different stakeholders,” Kazi Sarwar Imtiaz Hashmi, additional director general of the DoE, told The Independent.

The DoE is also planning to formulate  solid waste management rules, he said.  “There are various provisions in the proposed rules, including punishment, fine and imprisonment. City corporations, municipalities and the LGRD ministry will be responsible to manage all kinds of waste,” he added. 

The plastic items produced under recycle methods do not maintain the food grade, said BPGMEA director Md Yusuf Ashraf. Plastic items produced through virgin materials are food-gradable. “Even many one-time used plastic items are also food-gradable,” he added.

On many factory owners not using virgin raw materials, Ashraf said: “It’s true. But we continuously pressurise factory owners to produce plastic goods maintaining health standards.”

The government can impose additional taxes on plastic items so that waste could be managed easily, he added.

The government, on January 1, 2002, banned manufacturing, marketing and use of polythene shopping bags in Dhaka. Later, a countrywide ban was made effective from March 31.

Despite banning the use of polythene products and bags, around 20 million polythene bags are still being consumed in the capital on a daily basis, many of which are being dumped in drains and waterbodies causing waterlogging.

People should also boycott disposable glasses, spoons, forks, and razors—everything that has plastic in it, said experts.

SR

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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