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Industrial waste management needs more attention: Experts

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 20 July, 2021 12:00 AM
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The government should enhance monitoring of import of lead chromate as a pigment and effective industrial waste management, speakers said at a webinar on Monday.

They said the government should also formulate a prudent policy to control the pollution from lead materials considering the public health.

Department of Environment (DoE) and Swiss Agency for Development and Corporation (SDC) jointly organized the webinar in association with USAID and OAK Foundation.

Ministry of Environment additional secretary Ahmed Shamim Al Razi joined the event as chief guest.

DoE director general Ashraf Uddin chaired the session titled “Advancing a Lead Pollution and Health Roadmap for Bangladesh.”

The experts said Bangladesh is one of the most lead-impacted countries in the world and experiences the fourth highest rate of death from lead exposure.

More than 36 million children are exposed to lead with an average of approx. 7.5 μg/dL blood lead level, almost double than the suggested common health guidelines of the World Health Organisation, they said.

Additional Secretary Shamim Al Razi said the DoE will take the lead in a joint and multi-stakeholder approach to eradicating lead pollution. “Research institutions and universities should come up with ways to shift illegal, informal battery recycling industries to the regulated and registered sector.  We have to identify community areas that are contaminated with lead and take steps to rehabilitate the communities,” he said.

Pure Earth vice president Andrew McCartor said the government has to take the lead role in devising a national strategy for the handling of this problem.

“We need to address the limitations of a common set of goals and strategies to advance a holistic national approach,” he said.

“If the lead is in soil, it stays hundred years if it is not cleaned. This is a continuous threat to generation after generation,” Pure Earth vice president said.

The sources of poisonous lead are widespread starting from used battery to spices, lead-based paint, cosmetics, aluminum cookeries and traditional medicine, the experts said expressing the concerns.