It is good to note that the government has embarked on a plan to increase the recycling of plastic waste to 80 percent and reduce its generation by 30 percent by 2030. According to the government’s sustainable plastic management action plan, efforts are being made to reduce the use of single-use plastic by 90 percent by 2026
Plastic is polluting every corner of the planet. The scale of plastic pollution has become alarming with millions of tonnes of plastic waste existing almost everywhere posing serious threats to human and animal health and destroying nature as well. We do not know exactly how long plastic products take to degrade, but we know that once they are in our soil, rivers and oceans, it is impossible to
Plastic wastes not only pollute our terrestrial biodiversity but according to UN, some 11 million tonnes of plastic waste flow annually into oceans polluting and destroying marine biodiversity. Currently, the overwhelming majority of plastic products aren’t biodegradable. As such the plastic in use today is likely to stick around for thousands of years, posing a threat to the lives of animals, aquatic organisms and humans alike.
Necessary steps should be taken
to scale up plastic waste collection
and reinforce recycling capacity
It is disconcerting to learn that around 17,000 tonnes of plastic is produced in the country every day and only half of it is recycled, according to the Department of Environment. Reportedly, in Dhaka city alone, plastic waste has gone up more than 3.5 times from 178 tons per day in 2005 to 646 tons per day in 2020. Of that 646 tons, only 37 percent is recycled, and mostly by the informal sector.
Considering the fact that plastic use is unavoidable, recycling of plastic waste has become more than a necessity. We cannot reduce its use due to its flexibility but we can surely reuse it to minimise its impact on environment. We need to conduct awareness campaigns to convince consumers to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics and encourage them to move towards healthier and more sustainable ways of living that will benefit their families and their communities.
It is time to determine concrete targets and devise roadmaps for reducing avoidable plastic use. Necessary steps should be taken to scale up plastic waste collection and reinforce recycling capacity through investment.
The fight against plastic pollution is twofold: First we must contain it, and then we must eradicate it. In order to reduce plastic pollution, we all have an essential role to play, from making small lifestyle changes -- such as shopping with reusable bags -- to raising our voices for more progressive and sustainable policies. Our voices can become an impetus behind public policy decisions.