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Lack of substitute leads to wide use of polythene bags

Published : 15 Jan 2023 12:58 AM | Updated : 15 Jan 2023 02:45 PM

As there is no alternative to polythene bags, its rampant use has gone beyond the control of the authorities concerned across the country. 

Use of the banned polythene bags are going on unabated that is creating serious threat to human life as well as the environment.

As they (authorities concerned) are trying to find an alternative (like jute products) they are hopeful of fully enforcing the polythene (bag) ban in the country. 

Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin told Bangladesh Post, “We have not been able to produce any substitute for polythene, due to which its use has increased to a large extent even after the ban. We hope that soon we will be able to create alternatives and protect the environment.” 

He cited the examples of ‘Sonali Bag’ (jute bag) as an alternative and said that the use of polythene will decrease if there is wider use of Sonali Bag manufactured from jute. 

There is no denying that the government is taking initiatives to encourage people to  use jute bags instead of polythene. However, on the other hand, jute mills are slowly closing down one after another. As a result, ordinary people are losing interest in using jute bags. 

When this correspondent tried to know the latest development of Sonali Bags, it was learnt that at present the authorities concerned is trying to develop and promote jute bags which is suitable for all weather condition and at the same time the bags can sustain heavy load (5 to 6 Kilogram). 

As its totally biodegradable it will have huge demand both home and abroad and they are trying to go for large amount production that will minimize its production cost and ensure peoples affordability. 

It was known that the government banned the use of polythene shopping bags in 2002 for the sake of environmental protection. Apart from this, according to the Environmental Protection Act, production, import, marketing, sale and display for sale, stocking and distribution of all types of shopping bags made of polythene are prohibited. In case of violation, there is a provision of imprisonment and fine. But nevertheless, polythene use increasing gradually.

According to the Department of Environment, a total of 2,897 campaigns have been carried out from 2015 to 2021. A total of 5, 954 cases have been registered during the operation. A fine of Tk 20.81 crore has been realised in these cases and Tk 17.69 crore has been collected. Some 91 people have been sentenced to various terms of imprisonment for using polythene.

However, as a regular activity, the concerned ministry is going to conduct mobile court again soon. 

In this regard,  Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin said, “We all are aware about the adverse effect of polythene. To reduce its use and raise awareness soon we will be conducting mobile court across the country." 

Plastics cause a huge problem in the world. Plastic bottles are found in chunks while cleaning the canals and drains of the capital. This leads to water logging in the capital during the monsoon.

After use, they are thrown into different water bodies which later flows into the Bay of Bengal. Aquatic animals are heavily harmed due to such practice. As a result, it is becoming a serious threat to the environment and public health day by day. 

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