Tannery workers demand eco-friendly industry

Prothom Alo English Desk | Update:

Tannery Workers Union leaders address a press conference at National Press Club, Dhaka on Tuesday. Photo: UNB

Leather industry workers on Tuesday urged the government to build an environment-friendly industry and ensure their rights, reports UNB.

"Savar Tannery Estate should be built as a modern and environment-friendly one. Tanneries are polluting surrounding areas and the environment isn't safe for the workers," Tannery Workers Union president Abul Kalam Azad told a press conference at National Press Club.

From this thriving industry, the government targets earning $5 billion by 2021, he said. "But there's no facility for us. There's no residence, hospital, educational institutions, rest houses, public toilets and canteens for the workers."

Wazedul Islam Khan, general secretary of the Union, also demanded better medical facilities for the workers.

Abul Kalam Azad threatened to launch demonstration if the government does not take initiatives to address the issues before Eid-ul-Azha, which will be celebrated in August.Labourers work to dump tannery wastages. Photo: UNB

"The government must ensure the workers' rights by forming a safety committee and provide personal protective equipment," he added.

The Union president Azad claimed that the problems increased after the tanneries were relocated to Savar from Hajaribagh. "Poor drainage system is causing environmental pollution," he observed.

Bangladesh Labour Foundation (BLF) secretary general ZM Kamrul Anam said nobody was there to prevent the use of poisonous leather wastage in fish and poultry feed.

BLF chairman Abdus Salam Khan said the industries, commerce, labour and environment ministries have to work together to build an eco-friendly and modern industry.

"If things go on like this, the areas surrounding the tanneries and the rivers will continue to be polluted," he said.

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