The High Court today directed the authorities concerned of the government to immediately stop the operation of poultry and fish feed factories across the country that use hazardous tannery waste for production and to submit a report to it after complying with the directive within a month.
The court also issued a notice asking six government high officials to show cause by April 9 why contempt of court proceedings should not be brought against them for not stopping the operation of poultry and fish feed factories in line with its earlier order.
The six officials are-secretaries to the ministries of industries, commerce, food, health and fisheries, and livestock and the inspector general of police.
The HC came up with the order after hearing a petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB) seeking its order on the authorities concerned to stop the operation of poultry and fish feed factories across the country that use tannery waste for producing feed.
The bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal also fixed May 12 for passing further order on this issue, HRPB’s lawyer Advocate Manzill Murshid told The Daily Star.
The HRPB recently submitted the petition as a supplementary to its earlier writ petition upon which the HC in 2011 ordered the respondents to stop the operation of poultry and fish feed factories.
Advocate Manzill Murshid said the HRPB had filed the writ petition in July 2010 with the HC following a report published in The Daily Star titled “Toxic poultry feed poses health risk”.
Following the writ petition, the HC on July 21, 2011 directed the authorities to stop the operation of poultry and fish feed factories within a month and to prepare guidelines in two months to monitor and check the use of tannery waste in producing the feed.
On April 9, 2017, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court upheld the HC directive.
But, the HC directives were not fully implemented, Advocate Manzill said, adding that Bangla daily Shomoyer Alo on March 25 this year published a report saying that poultry and fish feed is being produced with tanneries in Savar.
HRPB recently filed the supplementary writ petition with the HC annexing the report published by Shomoyer Alo with prayers for necessary orders.
According to the 2010 The Daily Star report titled “Toxic poultry feed poses health risk”, the use of tannery waste in poultry and fish feed poses serious health risk as the hazardous waste has the possibility of directly entering the food chain. Experts say consumption of tannery waste through fish and poultry might cause liver and kidney diseases, even cancer.
A study in 2007 by Dhaka University and Bangladesh Council for Scientific and Industrial Research found chromium in eggs and poultry meat higher than the tolerable level. The samples were collected from Dhaka, Narsingdi, Kishoreganj, Mymensingh, Tangail, Gazipur, Narayanganj and Munshiganj, according to The Daily Star report.