Environmentalists yesterday at a seminar said that enforcement of law alone is not enough, and awareness is key to containing the plastic pollution in Bangladesh.
Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO) and Department of Environment (DoE) jointly held the seminar titled “Plastic Pollution in Bangladesh and its Impact on Environment and Health” at Ban Bhaban in Dhaka.
Speakers said the rate of plastic production and consumption is increasing day by day and at the same time unregulated, harmful and hazardous manufacturing facilities are big threats to environment and human health.
Plastic and microplastic are risks to public health as they enter our food chain, they said.
Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdhury, secretary to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said that when plastic was invented it was considered a blessing but now the world is realising what a disaster it is.
He said, “Plastic has destroyed our jute sector. It is our mentality which is mainly responsible for plastic pollution. We can spend Tk 10,000 to buy products but cannot purchase a bag worth Tk 10 to carry those. We must change this mentality. Enforcement of law and awareness campaigns should go hand in hand to contain plastic pollution.”
“The presence of plastic in our inland freshwater system magnifies the effects of plastic pollution dramatically,” he added.
Raisa Sultana, teacher at Dhaka University, and Xavier Sun, research associate of Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association, Taiwan, presented keynote papers at the discussion while a number of environmentalists participated in the discussion.
Dr S. M. Munjurul Hannan Khan, additional secretary to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, said, “We have to save the earth and our next generation from the dangers of plastic pollution. We have to speak out loudly to reduce plastic use. We are all victims of plastic pollution.”
Dr Shahriar Hossain, secretary general of ESDO, said, “We have to act now. We know there are many hurdles. But if we are sincere, it is very much possible to overcome the crisis.”
Md. Mokhlesur Rahman, additional inspector general (Admin & Ops) of Police, said, “We need coordinated efforts to save the earth from plastic pollution. Health, agriculture, fisheries, environment ministries and law enforcers have to work together. Public awareness is very important.”
Dr. Sultan Ahmed, director general of Department of Environment, said, “We cannot stop plastic pollution overnight. We have to go phase by phase. The first step should come from consumer level.”