Seven state-run factories don't have any effluent treatment plant (ETP) to treat their waste before disposal, says a report of the environment and forests ministry.
The ETP at Jamuna Fertiliser Company in Sarisabari upazila of Jamalpur is out of order, it adds. The ETP treats the effluent produced by a factory.
The ministry carried out the study on the environmental status of 12 factories operated by Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCCI). The report was presented at the meeting of the parliamentary standing committee on the ministry at Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban on Wednesday.
Five out of the 12 factories, which produce fertiliser, cement, glass sheet, paper and sanitary ware, don't have environmental clearance certificate from the Department of Environment (DoE).
According to the report, the certificates of four factories out of the five have expired between two months and four years ago.
Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, green activist Syeda Rizwana Hasan yesterday said the government can't claim its moral authority to tell other factories to take necessary measures to stop environmental pollution as the state-run factories have failed to set up ETPs.
However, it's a positive sign that the government has at least “admitted” that the large public factories have been polluting environment, she stated.
“The government should set an example by preparing a time-bound plan to set up ETPs and taking other necessary measures to prevent pollution by its factories,” said Rizwana, also the chief executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association.
The report says Urea Fertiliser Factory Ltd in Ghorashal, Polash Urea Fertiliser Factory in Palash of Narsingdi and TSP Complex Ltd in Uttar Patenga of Chittagong produce 4.7 lakh tonnes, 95,000 lakh tonnes and 1.06 lakh tonnes of fertiliser a year. None of them haven taken measures to check water and air pollution although the first two have environmental clearance certificates.
The Chhatak Cement Company Ltd in Sunamganj produces 1.9 lakh tonnes cement per annum. It neither has an ETP nor the environmental clearance certificate, except for a dust collector. In 2013, the factory was served with a notice for hill-cutting.
The cement producer in 2000 had applied to the DoE for an environmental clearance certificate, but could not submit necessary documents and pay the fees. After an inspection of the factory in 2014, the DoE asked its authorities to submit the documents and pay the fees.
On Usmania Glass Sheet Factory Ltd in Kalurghat of Chittagong, the report says it produces 18.67 lakh square feet of glass sheets a year. But is has been operating without an ETP or environmental clearance certificate.
In 2010, the factory was fined over Tk 10 lakh for polluting the environment. The fine was later slashed to Tk 5 lakh following an appeal.
About Bangladesh Insulator and Sanitary Wear Factory in the capital's Mirpur, the study says it produces 3,400 lakh tonnes of insulator and sanitary wares a year. It has not taken “enough measures” to control environmental pollution.
Karnaphuli Paper Mills produces 30,000 lakh tonnes of paper a year, but it is running without any ETP or environmental clearance certificate. The mill was fined Tk 1.83 crore last year for polluting the Karnaphuli. The factory authorities have appealed against the fine.
The factory has finally started working to check pollution after holding a meeting with the DoE this month, said the report.
The factories equipped with ETPs are Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Factory Ltd in Anowara of Chittagong, DAP Fertiliser Company Ltd in the port city, Shahjalal Fertiliser Company Ltd in Fenchuganj of Sylhet and Ashuganj Fertiliser and Chemical Company Ltd in Brahmanbaria.
The Daily Star last night called Hasan Mahmud, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the environment and forests ministry, to know about the body's next course of action, but he did not answer his phone.