The Department of Environment (DoE) needs to play an active role in strictly enforcing the ban on polythene with immediate effect. There is no proper initiative to make an alternative to plastic polythene.
The demand was made in a human chain formed by the leaders and activists of 17 environmental groups, including Poribesh Bachao Andolan (POBA) which took part in the human chain in front of the National Museum at Shahbagh in the capital on Saturday.
The human chain was formed under the banner ‘Environment and public health threatened by polythene-plastic scattering: we want effective measures to stop the use of polythene and plastic'.
The organisers of the programme said that life, nature and environment are on the verge of dire repercussions due to waste management errors and unawareness of the city dwellers.
Mentioning that Bangladesh has been praised by the world as the first country to ban polythene shopping bags, the activists said, “Although the ban on polythene bags was enacted in 2002, it has not been properly implemented yet. In such a situation, the High Court has given a year to implement the law again in January this year.”
A statement read out at the chain stated that 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.
Speakers at the human chain said, “The government is talking about using jute bags instead of polythene. However, on the other hand, jute mills are slowly closing down one after another.”
They added that due to this, ordinary people are losing interest in using jute bags. It takes about a thousand years for a plastic bag to decay into the soil. Hence, recycling plastic waste is a big challenge for scientists.
In a press release issued to the media, they stated that 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 it. As a result, it is becoming a serious threat to the environment and public health day by day.
Engineer Abdus Sobhan, General Secretary of POBA, AKM Maksud, Assistant Secretary of Gram Bangla Development and other heads of the organisation led the human chain.
Amir Hasan Masud, President of Old Dhaka Citizens' Initiative, Md Nazimuddin, President of BDClick and others participated in the human chain.