Bangladesh to ban plastic bags in capital city

From the beginning of January 2002, the Bangladesh government is banning the use of plastic bags in Dhaka, its third attempt to carry out such legislation.

Currently, 9.3 million plastic bags are dumped in the city every day, with only 10-15% put in dustbins. The rest are left go into drainage and sewage lines, causing blockages. In the floods of 1989 and 1998 this prevented drainage, prolonging the flooding, Hossain Shahriar, a Bangladeshi ecologist and journalist from the Environment and Social Development Organisation (ESDO) told edie. “It was discovered that due to the drainage congestion – by polythene shopping bags, water could not go down,” said Shahriar. “This was the cause of increasing water born diseases and air pollution-related environmental degradation.”

Shahriar is optimistic that the government will be able to ensure that the ban becomes law. “Because we found some significant commitment of the present Environment Minister and his ministry,” he said. “Yesterday, [the] Department of the Environment organised a discussion session. Speaking as chief guest, Minister for Environment and Forest Shahjahan Siraj said the government is determined to stick to its decision to ban use of polythene shopping bags in the Dhaka City and would not consider any appeal from any quarter.”

According to Siraj, the plastic bag situation has taken a serious turn across the country, due to billions of the bags being dumped into rivers and other water bodies, as well as drains, over the years, causing a serious environmental threat.

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