The government needs to immediately ratify the ‘Basel Ban Amendment’ to stop illegal plastic waste trade in the country, said experts on Thursday.
They made the call at a report unveiling an event, organised by the Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO).
The speakers stated that about 1.2 million tonnes of plastic wastes were shipped to Bangladesh in three years until 2019 creating serious hazards for the environment and public health.
Experts from Bangladesh and other parts of the world urged the government to adopt the Basel Ban Amendment, to minimise the threat of hazardous plastic wastes.
Former secretary and ESDO chairperson, Syed Marghub Morshed, urged to consider the gravity of the plastic waste trade problem as it is hampering the ecosystem of the Bay of Bengal and ultimately the sustainable development of Bangladesh.
David Azoulay, Managing Attorney of the Center for International Environmental Law’s (CIEL) Geneva Office and the Director of CIEL’s Environmental Health Program, Switzerland; Jim Puckett, Founder and Executive Director, Basel Action Network (BAN), USA; Sirine Rached, Global Policy Advocate (GAIA), Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives – GAIA, USA joined the session through virtual platform.
Sirine Rached of GAIA pointed the gaps in national plastic waste trade laws in Bangladesh while Jim Puckett of BAN talked about the ways to ratify Basel amendments in developing countries including Bangladesh.
Secretary-General of ESDO, Dr Shahriar Hossain, noted Bangladesh is a signatory to Basel Convention but it did not sign the Basel Ban Amendment that deals particularly with wastes and hazardous wastes management and its trans-boundary movement.
According to the Bangladesh National Report to the Basel Convention, Bangladesh has adopted legislation to implement the provisions of the Basel Convention and the legislation makes provision to prevent illegal traffic of hazardous and other wastes.
The Hazardous Waste and Ship Breaking Waste Management Rules 2011 provides that illegal trafficking is a criminal offence.
If any hazardous waste or other waste seems to be illegal it will return to Origin Country in 30 days.
Also, the Import Policy Order restricts the entrance of any waste into Bangladesh.
Moreover, there is no restriction in transit of wastes thus ESDO demanded to put a legal bar on it.