Speakers at a discussion called for regulating non-recyclable plastic use and facilitating the recycling industry.
They also discussed the importance of relevant and practical policy approaches from the government.
The speakers said that the global best practices on plastic circularity focuses on collecting and recycling the thrown-away plastic waste so that the environment is unharmed.
They highlighted the critical role that the private sector could play to holistically improve the ecosystem.
The speakers agreed that the smartest way to keep plastic in a loop that does not impact the planet was to ensure the collection and recycling of plastic waste.
To mark the World Environment Day 2023, the Department of Environment (DoE), Unilever Bangladesh Ltd. (UBL), World Bank, UNIDO and Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BPGMEA) jointly organised the discussion at the DoE auditorium in Dhaka on Thursday.
The seminar, titled “Adopting Circular Economy for Sustainable Plastic Management in Bangladesh”, focused on sustainable plastic waste management, which was also the focus of this year’s World Environment Day.
Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md. Shahab Uddin attended the discussion as the chief guest.
He said, “The government has taken measures to protect our environment through progressive policies and regulations.”
“We have included circularity into our 8th 5-year plan, which will help to improve waste management and support the green industry holistically,” the minister said.
He said, “We are collaborating with wide stakeholders to ensure that our work is inclusive and adds to the country's economic growth while protecting our environment for the next generation."
Dr. Abdul Hamid, Director General Department of Environment, chaired the seminar.
Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) president Md. Jashim Uddin, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Sanjay Kumar Bhowmik, UNIDO Country Representative Bangladesh Country Office Dr. Zaki Uz Zaman, UNIDO Representative and Head of Regional Office in India Dr. Rene Van Berkel, spoke as special guests.
FBCCI president Md. Jasim Uddin said, ‘’The plastic industry is growing exponentially in Bangladesh. Compared to the global average of around 9 percent, around 40 percent of the plastic is recycled in Bangladesh.”
“The informal sector is a key player in this contribution, and the situation could be improved significantly if we all come forward and invest smartly to provide better value for waste,” he said.
“Hence, we need cross sectoral collaboration, learn from best practices and have an enabling policy that will formalise the informal sector, and support and grow the plastic waste management ecosystem,” he added.
BPGMEA president Shamim Ahmed said, “Plastic is essential as a lightweight and cost-effective material. So, it is an important raw material for manufacturers to keep product prices affordable.”
He said, “Plastic is not the problem. Waste management is the challenge. Therefore, an inclusive policy which enables and encourages plastic circularity would benefit the industry.”