The use of plastic in many developed countries is much higher than Bangladesh. But the management of waste is much better. The lion share is reused there. As a result, the environmental damage is very little. We dump thousands of tonnes of waste in the land, river and canal every year.

Many rivers and canals have been filled up with the waste of plastic and polythene. Previous situation could not be restored despite excavation. Huge amount of waste is accumulated from upstream courses in the river. In a research published in 2015, it was found that Bangladesh is the 10th in the mismanagement of plastic waste in the coastal area of the sea.

To come out of this situation, we welcome the move the environment, forest and climate change ministry has taken to bring down the use of plastic by half by 2030. But an urgent plan of action has to be taken to restore the canals, drains, rivers and water bodies which have already been filled up.

Of the total amount of waste generated, 10 per cent of it comes from plastic, which needs to be brought to zero in no time. Simultaneously, the application of relevant law to protect the environment from pollution has to be ensured. Earlier, people would secretly dump plastic and polythene waste in the locality, rivers and canals, now they dump it openly.

In the seminar, the environment, forest and climate change minister Md Shahab Uddin underscored the need for using environment friendly jute bags reducing the use of plastic. This is a very good thing. Instead of polythene, the use of jute bags is much more hygienic.

There was no lack of initiative and hue and cry by the government over the matter. But the result is zero. The use of polythene bags was banned during the rule of the BNP government. Many polythene factories were closed. But under the pressure of a vested quarter and the negligence of the government, polythene returns to the country.

In the perspective of present reality, we may not be able to ban the use of plastic items. But we have to reduce environmental damage and health risks. Otherwise, the consequence will be dire. Its evidence is visible in the land and water. About this matter, public awareness has to be increased and the violators of law have to be brought to book.

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