BRAC observes World Environment Day with events to prevent plastic pollution

BRAC celebrated World Environment Day with various events aimed at preventing plastic pollution. These programmes included beach clean-ups, painting workshops, tree planting, sapling distribution, youth awareness activities, and discussions. The events were held at Cox's Bazar sea beach and Savar on Wednesday, 5 June.

Around 300 volunteers participated in the beach cleaning drive, and approximately 300 students took part in the environmental awareness programmes for youth in Savar. BRAC is committed to ensuring a clean, safe environment by protecting it from plastic waste pollution; these programmes reflect that commitment.

Beach clean-up programme

The beach clean-up event started at 3:30 pm. A total of 250 volunteers registered online to participate in this programme, organised by the Urban Development Program (UDP) of BRAC, with many others joining through direct registration on the day. In the evening, the theatre troupe 'Anuswar' performed to raise public awareness about the harmful effects of plastic pollution.

The clean-up campaign began at Sugandha beach, with participants dividing into two groups and marching towards Kalatali and Labani beach to collect plastic and other waste. The beach clean-up programme is part of the World Bank-funded 'Plastic Free Rivers and Seas for South Asia (PLEASE)' project. 

The CEO of Cox’s Bazar Municipality, AKM Tariqul Islam, shared positive remarks about how BRAC will recycle and repurpose plastic under the PLEASE project. He emphasised the potential positive outcomes of this project by the end of the year.

Md. Imamul Azam Shahi, Programme Head, UDP of BRAC said, “the major sectors affected through plastic pollution include tourism and fishing activities, and inadequate waste management systems are exacerbating the issue every day. We should emphasise strengthening policies for plastic waste management and promoting sustainable practices.”

According to a survey, approximately 124 to 200 tonnes of waste are generated in Cox's Bazar daily, a significant portion of which is plastic waste. The PLEASE project data indicate that about 12.5 per cent of household waste in Cox's Bazar is plastic. Pollution from this waste threatens coastal areas and marine life.

Painting workshop, plantation, discussion

Around 300 students from six schools and one college in Savar participated in various activities, including a day-long painting workshop. The event held at Savar Government College included painting workshops, discussion sessions, tree plantating programmes, and sapling distribution among the students. This programme, jointly organised by the Bangladesh Sustainability Alliance (BSA) and BRAC, aimed to motivate the youth to protect the environment by reducing plastic pollution.

Students participated in the painting workshops by submitting plastic waste as a registration fee. They were made aware of the need for waste management, the harmful effects of plastic pollution, and preventive measures through stories and pictures. In the painting workshop, participants drew pictures on environmental topics under the guidance of artist Jafar Iqbal.

In the second phase of the event, a discussion programme was held. The chief guest of this segment, Haji Md. Abdul Gani, Mayor of Savar Municipality, said, "I encourage everyone to plant more trees. Every tree planted is a step towards a healthier and more sustainable future."

Dr. Md. Liakatht Ali, Director of BRAC's Climate Change Programme (CCP), UDP, and Disaster Risk Management Programme (DRMP), stated, "Educational institutions play a vital role in shaping the minds of our future leaders. By educating students about environmental issues, we are empowering them to become advocates for the planet and inspiring them to take action in their own lives."

The programme concluded with a tree planting activity, the distribution of saplings among the students, and a community cleanliness programme.