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21 April, 2019 00:00 00 AM

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‘Industrial expansion has negative impact on environment’

STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka

Speakers at a seminar yesterday said the impact of industrialisation on the environment needs to be emphasised with more intensity, as the world is quietly but surely facing destruction from man-made follies. Describing Bangladesh’s RMG industry as a "golden goose" that lays “dirty eggs” in the form of environmental pollution as by-products, the speakers said time has come for Bangladesh to think about green and responsible industrialisation.

 They were speaking at a seminar titled “Voices and Solutions: Achieving Growth through Sustainable Production and Consumption in the Fashion Industry”, jointly organised by ActionAid and Fashion Revolution at the Brac Center Inn in the capital.

 Speaking at the programme, ActionAid country director Farah Kabir said although the garment industry in Bangladesh contributes significantly to the economy, it raises a number of environmental concerns.

All aspects of the industry, namely spinning, weaving, knitting, wet processing and readymade garment manufacturing pollute the air, water and soil, she said.

Most factories are located along river banks. hence waste is dumped in the water, she added.

 Hazardous chemicals are being discharged into the water, affecting the marine ecosystem, reducing fish population and resulting in unsuitable land for cultivation, she said. Livelihood of local farmers and fishermen are also at stake. Many paddy-fields are now inundated in toxic wastewater, she added. Farah said total leftovers from the country’s garments units is around 4,00,000 tonnes and everyday about 550 tonnes of garments waste is being exported abroad from the port of Chittagong.

 She said most of the tanneries do not have proper effluent treatment plants, and in general releases around two crore litres of tannery effluent and 232 tonnes of solid waste per day.

 Referring to a study of the International Finance Corporation, the ActionAid country director said every year 1,500 billion litres of water is used to dye and wash the cotton and clothes for the garment industry.

 To put the number into perspective, she said, the same water can meet the demand of eight lakh people for a whole year.

 If business as usual continues, this will result in an additional water demand of over 3,400 billion litres by 2030, which is equivalent to the annual water needs of a population of approximately 75 million people, she said.

 Farah said the country does not have enough data on the environmental impact from both the fashion industry and consumer behaviour. “Many of our decisions are based on partial data,” she said.

 Speaking on the occasion, Mayor of Dhaka North City Corporation, Atiqul Islam, said the purpose of economic development in any region is to provide opportunities for improved living and jobs to people. While industrial development invariably creates more jobs in any region, possibilities of adverse effects on the environment also increase, if the adverse effects are not reduced.

 Atiqul said industrialists of the country have to increase their awareness and opt for using the latest technology to curb the amount of pollution.

 “The water bodies cannot be used as a dust-bin. We have to modernise and enhance the capacity of our waste management system, said Atiqul.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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