7 years ago
Living with polythene
The government has apparently begun enforcing a complete ban on the sale and use of polythene bags in the capital. Such a move was first undertaken on January 01, 2002 to save the city from an environmental disaster. Though there are some initiatives to ban polythene, nothing seems to be effective.
Polythene shopping bags were first introduced in Bangladesh in the early eighties. On an average, each family uses four polythene bags in Dhaka every day. According to an estimate, ten million of such bags are thrown to waste-bins every day. Millions of polythene bags disposed everyday are clogging drainage channels mainly in Dhaka and Chittagong cities, polluting the surrounding rivers. This results in serious harm to us, fish and other aquatic animals, thus posing a serious marine environmental hazard.
Polythene remains intact in the soil; it causes problem for soil fertility which is a big concern in this agricultural country.
Findings of a research on polythene conducted by the Korean Institute of Health Research, said workers in polythene factories are more exposed to cancer, skin disease and other fatal health problems. Polythene-wrapped fish and meat generate a kind of heat that creates radiation which ultimately makes food poisonous. These discarded polythene bags are a new environmental threat for an overcrowded city which is already suffering from high levels of water and air pollution and other kinds of environmental hazards.
Besides, polythene-wrapped fish, meat and vegetables get infected by anaerobic bacteria, a germ responsible for skin disease and cancer, a polythene expert Dr Hossain Shahriar said. A nutrition expert of Kolkata Medical College Hospital, Dr Shashwati Roy, in a research found that taking tea in polypus can be a cause of ulcer and cancer. Polythene bags and other plastic materials, if burnt below 7,000 degree Celsius, create a dioxin like poisonous gas, which can cause cancer and skin diseases. Polythene bags dumped near households turn into safe havens for mosquitoes which cause dengue fever, filariasis and malaria, they warned.
There are about one thousand polythene industries in the countries. Most of these are based in Dhaka. There is a powerful syndicate in charge of polythene business. There are many polythene industries in Mirpur, Karwan Bazar, Tejgaon, Kamrangir Char and Tongi. There are more than a hundred polythene industries from Jatrabari to Fatulla, Narayanganj. There is also a powerful syndicate in charge of polythene business in Chittagong. Because of large use of polythene, popularity of jute products is decreasing. At the same time, jute cultivation is also decreasing. Our potential jute sector has been destroyed because of our negligence. The government should play an important role to revitalise the sector.
Without tougher environmental legislation, it will be very difficult for the government to attain any success in its fight against polythene. It must implement the law that banned polythene, and severely punish the violators. Moreover, high tax should be imposed on raw materials of polythene. [email protected]