The National Board of Revenue is set to impose green tax on about 2,500 polluting industrial units in a bid to compel them to cut back on their pollution.
The industrial units will have to deposit 1.0 percent of the receipts from their products to the state exchequer, a senior NBR official said yesterday.
“We will soon issue a notice with the names of these polluting units to collect the surcharge,” he said, adding that the revenue authority has already gathered the list of polluting industrial units from the Department of Environment.
The surcharge, introduced this fiscal year, comes as part of the government's move to encourage industries to set up effluent treatment plants and make them aware of the harmful effects of their activities on the environment.
The Buriganga and other rivers around Dhaka, including the Turag, the Bangshi, Tongi Khal, the Balu and the Shitalakkhya, have become highly polluted due to dumping of wastes from tanneries, dyeing factories and other industries as well as households.
Among them, the Buriganga, the lifeline of Dhaka, is the most polluted, having zero oxygen level in its waters for nine months in a year, thanks to the tipping of toxic tannery wastes from Hazaribagh.
Insiders said brick kilns and industries in various sectors such as leather, dyeing, battery, ceramic, steel and re-rolling, rubber, sweater, food processing, rice, sugar, pesticides, fertiliser, printing, poultry, beverage, hospital and diagnostic centres are likely to face environment protection surcharge or green tax.
The DoE though has not given any breakdown of how many industries in a specific sector pollute the environment.
The number of polluting units is not final though, and the DoE will continue to forward names as and when reports from field inspections come. On the other hand, it will request the tax authority to exclude names if the industries stop pollution and comply with the environmental law.
So far, the DoE has found more than 1,200 polluting units in the Dhaka region including the capital city. Khulna and Chittagong have the second and the third highest numbers of polluting units, followed by Barisal, Rajshahi and Sylhet.
Non-payment of green tax will be treated as an offence and punitive measures will be taken, according to the rules on environment protection surcharge issued on June 30.