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A Toxics-Free Future


250 tons single-use plastic entering environment per month: study

Some 250 tons of single-use plastic (SUP) are entering the environment per month across the country – causing public health hazard, according to a latest study.

Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO) conducted the study throughout last four months (July-October). Siddika Sultana, executive director of ESDO, published the study yesterday at a press conference in its Lalmatia office, Dhaka in presence of experts.

Experts said these SUP products – polythene bags, drinking straws, plastic cotton buds, food packaging, plastic bottles and cups, plates etc. contain different types of toxic chemicals which are making their way into the food chain.

They also said that such kinds of chemicals, sourced from micro-plastics, have severe effects on respiratory, nervous and reproductive systems.

“It's a preliminary survey on the amounts of SUP products sold from Old Dhaka (Begumbazar and Moulovibazar), from where around 85 percent of the total SUP products are supplied,” said Tanvir Hasnine, coordinator of the study.

According to the study, around 250 tons, out of 312 tons (estimated) of total SUP straws and plastics cutleries, are being sold per month from Old Dhaka.

The study also shows that around 9.75 lakh pieces of SUP, equivalent to 195 tons per month, are manufactured by only five companies.

The study claims, approximately 80 to 85 percent of SUP -- once discarded -- end up in drains, lakes, rivers and the Bay of Bengal.

On the basis of a sample SUP collection from one kilometre area of Dhanmondi Lake, the ESDO study also said that around 200 tons of plastic waste could be collected every day from Dhaka city.

Prof Abul Hashem, chairman of chemical division of BSTI, said, “The SUP products are made of different kinds of polymer with different density. When consumed, it affects our respiratory, nervous and reproductive systems.”

Syed Marghub Murshed, chairperson of ESDO, said, “Over 60 countries have imposed restrictions on the use of SUP products. We urge the government to adopt such laws and generate awareness.”

Dr Shahriar Hossain, secretary general of ESDO, said, “We should use alternatives to SUP. There is no way of creating mass awareness in this regard.”