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3 February, 2019 12:44:11 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 3 February, 2019 10:22:03 AM
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Policy support stressed to avert health hazards of e-waste

Bangladesh produces around 40m tonnes of e-waste each year
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka
Policy support stressed to avert health hazards of e-waste

Lack of awareness and gross negligence in managing increasing amount of e-waste creates health and environmental hazards in the capital and elsewhere in the country. Terming these health hazards as “seriously threatening”, speakers at a roundtable discussion yesterday said proper management and recycling of the e-waste could not only avert health hazards, but would also create an industry out of it. The roundtable discussion, titled “E-waste management: A huge challenge for Bangladesh”, was arranged by the Telecom Reporters' Networks of Bangladesh (TRNB) at a city hotel.

A presentation at the seminar said since e-waste is nothing but a combination of plastics and toxic chemicals, these get released into the environment after improper disposal.

Pollutants such as dioxins and furans from polyvinyl chloride, lead, beryllium, cadmium, mercury, etc. get into our environment and cause problems to the immune system and nervous system and even interfere with regulatory hormones, said the presentation.

“City corporations and municipal authorities are not even aware about massive electronic an electrical wastes being left in open spaces in the capital and elsewhere in the country every day,” said Mesbah Uddin, secretary general of the Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers' Association (BMPIA), who presented the keynote paper.

Mesbah Uddin said Bangladesh produces around 40 million tonnes of e-waste each year. “It means on an average, every person has produced six to seven kilogram of e-waste here, and this number is increasing since we have increasing purchase capacity,” he said. 

He suggested that a policy level guideline and execution plan with consumer awareness will help proper management of the e-waste in the country.

BMPIA president Ruhul Alam Al Mahbub Manik said their association is ready to start a process to collect unused and out-of-service mobile handsets, which is one of the major sources of e-waste, in exchange for cash from consumers for proper disposal.

“We will arrange campaigns at different shopping malls in the capital through retailers by giving some incentives to the customers and the channels,” he said.

“We may pay Tk. 100-Tk. 200 for each unused and old mobile set to the customers and we will send it to the companies who are managing e-waste,” said Manik, also the chairman of Fair Group, assembler of Samsung mobile devices in the country.

Mahtab Uddin Ahmed, managing director and chief executive officer of Robi, said they will also collect mobile devices at their 80 touch points across the country.

“In Bangladesh, we can hardly collect about three per cent of the total e-waste we create and this is a very alarming situation for the whole country, as well for the next generation,” Ahmed said.

Currently, about four crore mobile devices are entering the country every

year and within the next two to three years these will become e-waste, he said, adding that the association needs policy support to implement its plan.

Speaking as chief guest, Telecom and ICT minister Mustafa Jabbar said: “We will consider policy level support for recycling electronic and electrical products. The government will provide tax holiday or cash incentive, if necessary, to promote it.” He also said the e-waste management policy will help sustainable development of the country. “The collection process of e-waste should be considered as a business model, so that it helps to colLect large volume of waste,” he added.

“If necessary, the government will amend the telecom act and include the provision of disbursing money from the Social Obligatory Fund (SOF) for treating e-waste,” said the telecom minister.

BTRC chairman Jahurul Haque said the government will consider supporting from social obligatory fund for e-waste management. “The BTRC will not provide any licence on import of electronic products without e-waste management capacity,” he said.

Dr Sultan Ahmed, director general of the Department of Environment (DoE), said that in addition to mobile phones, the country also uses about seven lakh computers, 29 lakh televisions, 2.55 crore CFS bulbs, 40 lakh fans, 1.55 lakh refrigerators, about 95,000 air-conditioners, 30,000 deep freezers every year. These are other sources of e-waste and are very hazardous for the country.

BUET Professor Rowshan Mamtaz, Dhaka Uttara city corporation chief waste management Abdur Razzaque, Azizur e-waste recycling owner Abul Kalam Azad and NH Enterprise owner Nazmul Hider also spoke at the roundtable. 


IK

 

 

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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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