Bangladesh aims to reduce plastic waste by 30% by 2030

The goal is aligned with the country’s 8th five-year plan

TBS Report

December 20, 2021, 2:15 pm

Last modification: December 20, 2021, 10:30 PM

Infographic: SCT

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Infographic: SCT

Bangladesh wants to reduce its plastic waste by 30% in a decade, according to the country’s national action plan which will be jointly implemented by the World Bank.

The plan, which is aligned with Bangladesh’s 8th Five-Year Plan addressing concerns from several government agencies and stakeholders, focuses on a 3R strategy for plastic products – reduce, reuse and recycle.

It sets a goal of recycling 50% of plastics by 2025, reducing the consumption of virgin materials by 50% by 2030 and phasing out targeted single-use plastic by 90% by 2026.

According to a World Bank report released on Monday detailing the action plan, Dhaka city generates 6,464 tonnes of household garbage per day, 10% of which is plastic waste.

Referring to the composition of the waste, the report states that most plastic waste in landfills consists of single-use thin shopping bags, packaging, wrapping and multi-layered plastics.

It says 48% of plastic waste goes to landfills, 37% is recycled, 12% ends up in water bodies and 3% goes to sewers and unserved areas.

The report states that the country’s annual per capita plastic consumption in urban areas has tripled to 9 kg in 2020, up from 3 kg in 2005. The annual per capita plastic consumption in Dhaka is 22.5 kg, or significantly more than the national average.

“With rapid growth and urbanization, Bangladesh has faced a sharp increase in both plastic use and pollution. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem of poorly managed plastic waste, ”said Dandan Chen, the World Bank’s acting country director for Bangladesh.

During the pandemic, the report says, single-use plastic waste such as used masks, gloves and personal protective equipment was largely dumped into water bodies and rivers.

With help, garbage can be turned into cash

Jashim Uddin, president of the Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), said plastic recycling can attract new investment if the government participates with political support.

Referring to other countries with plastic consumption of more than 100 kg per capita, he said the problem was not with the use of plastic but with the mismanagement of plastic waste.

“Two companies in the city of Dhaka can provide households with bins for throwing away plastic waste. The waste will then be collected and supplied to recycling units,” he suggested at the report launch event.

As the program’s main guest, Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Shahab Uddin blamed people’s insensitivity about plastic pollution.

“When we go abroad, we throw the waste in the trash. But at home, we just throw it anywhere and almost everywhere,” said the minister.

Eun Joo Allison Yi, Senior Environmental Specialist at the World Bank and co-author of the report, said: “To implement the national action plan focused on the 3R strategy, the commitments of all stakeholders, including government and citizens, are important.

Dandan Chen, Acting Country Director for Bangladesh at the World Bank, noted that the sustainable management of plastics – from product design, to reducing plastic use, to recycling – will be essential for ensure green growth for the country.

She said the global lender welcomes the government’s commitment to implement a national action plan to tackle plastic pollution.

Bangladesh has gradually taken steps to tackle plastic pollution, with mixed results.

In 2002, the country was the first in the world to ban plastic shopping bags. In addition, the law on jute packaging for six essential items – paddy, rice, wheat, maize, fertilizer and sugar – promoted an alternative to plastic packaging.

In 2020, the High Court ordered relevant authorities to ban single-use plastic in coastal areas and in all hotels and motels nationwide.

Bryce K. Locke