Sunday, 23 January, 2022; 5:46 pm
On 5 June of every year, the World Environment Day (WED) is being celebrated throughout the world to raise global awareness and to take constructive environmental action plan for protecting the Earth. The program is run by Nairobi based the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Office. The theme of the year-2018 is “Beat Plastic Pollution” which means united the human being coming together to combat single-use plastic pollution to save our planet. India is the global host of the day in this year. Since 1972, Bangladesh hosted 10 times of this celebration.
According to UNEP, people buy 1 million plastic bottles every minute globally and plastic contributes around 10% of all the wastes generate each day. Each year 8 million tones of plastic end up in the ocean which is problematic to the animal being of the green planet. Of the uses, 50 per cent of the plastic are single-used or disposable.
Bangladesh, one of the most disaster prone countries in the world, is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change majorly related to many natural hazards, including floods, droughts, cyclones and earthquakes. According to World Bank, more than 80 percent of the populations are potentially exposed to floods, earthquakes and droughts and more than 70 percent to cyclones. As a result, Bangladesh is positioned 6th at the Long-Term Climate Risk Index (CRI) among the top 10 climate change affected country in the world (from 1997 to 2016: annual averages) according to the Global Climate Risk Index.
The plastic industry is a key enabler of innovation and making significant contributions to the cross-cutting sectors in the world economy as well as to the Bangladesh economy. This sector is contributing more than 1.0 per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP) of Bangladesh economy with an estimated 18 per cent average growth rate and 51- 70 per cent value addition. The domestic market size of the sector is about BDT 25000 crore and more than 5,000 companies working in the sector predominantly of SMEs (small and medium enterprises). The sector generates over 1.2 million direct and indirect employments of which 28 per cent are women.
However, per capita consumption of plastic is only 5 kg in Bangladesh which is far below than the global average of 80 kg (Recycling International, 2012). Household plastics and packaging materials that are used in industrial purpose of Bangladesh are being manufactured locally and use as backward linkages to the other industries that reduce lead-time to provide exportable items to the buyers. So, we have a room to extend the sector due to easy use and cheaper price.
As a Least Developed Country (LDCs), we have a lesser option to go environment friendly high priced product and this is not feasible for us. But we can re-use plastic and ensure environmentally healthy use of it. In this connection, Bangladesh can set an example on the world stage by introducing inventive measures to beat plastic pollution and showcased best practices and innovations to overcome the challenge. Literally, it does not mean that we have to bring to an end of using the plastic. Rather, we can take initiatives to increase awareness to reduce the use of single-used disposable plastics.
Major corporations, NGOs, communities, governments and celebrities worldwide will celebrate the day. You can join with the global campaign through Hashtag #BeatPlasticPollution. Happy World Environment Day 2018.
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