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Single-use plastic products must be stopped to save the country from catastrophe

22 November 2022


Over 2.6 million tonnes of single-use plastic waste enter the Bay of Bengal per year. A study conducted by Environment and Social Development Organisation (ESDO) on Sunday showed that the 18 transboundary rivers in Bangladesh carry approximately 15,345 tonnes of single-use plastic waste. Our water bodies have become a toxic pool of waste, contaminated by everything from drifting plastic packs to synthetic waste. Single-use plastic dumping into the bay has entered the aquatic ecosystem and poses a great threat.
The High Court in 2020 directed the authorities concerned to ban single-use plastic products in coastal areas, hotels, motels and restaurants across the country in one year as they are health and environmental hazards. The throwaway plastic products include drinking straws, cotton buds, cigarette butts, food packaging, food containers, bottles, plates, plastic cutlery and plastic bags. In response to a writ petition, the HC also ordered the government to strictly enforce the ban on polythene or throwaway plastic bags through regular market monitoring and closure of polythene manufacturing factories.
In spite of the January 2002 ban on polythene bags, throwaway plastic bags have been freely available across the country. The hazardous effects of plastic -- particularly single-use plastics -- on ecology, aquatic and marine life, soil fertility, agricultural production, human health and safety were violations of citizens' constitutional rights to life, health and environment. According to the DoE, Bangladesh generates around 3,000 tonnes of plastic waste every day.
In 2018 the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reported the dumping of 73,000 tonnes of plastic waste into the Bay of Bengal through the Padma, Jamuna and Meghna Rivers. Around 95 per cent of the solid plastic waste generated in Dhaka comprises poly-packed throwaways, including plastic bottles, polythene bags and sachets of fast food and non-food consumer goods such as toiletries, food items and toothpaste. Despite many reports and warnings, we are still fanatic to use single-use plastic in a growing number that ultimately drives us to catastrophe.

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