Sustainable plastic management is key to achieving green growth for Bangladesh

DHAKA, December 20, 2021 – Sustainable plastic management will be crucial for Bangladesh to tackle growing plastic pollution and ensure green growth, according to a new World Bank report.

The ‘Towards a multisectoral action plan for sustainable plastic management in Bangladesh ” report provides a master plan for the management of plastic pollution in the short term (2022-2023), in the medium term (2024-2026) and in the long term (2027-2030), which will require an integrated intersectoral approach. The National Action Plan for Sustainable Plastic Management focuses on the circular use of plastic based on a 3R strategy: reduce, reuse, recycle. A circular economy will help create new value chains, green skills, jobs and innovative products while addressing social and environmental challenges.

“With rapid growth and urbanization, Bangladesh has faced a sharp increase in plastic use and pollution. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the problem of poorly managed plastic waste ”, noted Dandan Chen, World Bank Acting Country Director for Bangladesh. “Going forward, the sustainable management of plastic, from product design to reducing plastic use to recycling, will be key to ensuring green growth for the country. We welcome the government’s commitment to implement a national action plan to combat plastic pollution. “

The country’s annual per capita plastic consumption in urban areas has tripled to 9.0 kg in 2020, from 3.0 kg in 2005. The annual per capita plastic consumption in Dhaka is 22.5 kg, or significantly more than the national average. The COVID 19 pandemic has worsened plastic pollution, particularly from single-use plastic used in masks, gloves and personal protective equipment. Much of the plastic waste is dumped in water bodies and rivers.

The National Action Plan for the Sustainable Management of Plastics sets a target of recycling 50% of plastics by 2025, phase-out of single-use plastic targeted by 90% by 2026 and reduction in production of plastic waste by 30% by 2030 compared to the 2020/2021 baseline.

The plan, which is aligned with the 8th five-year plan, was based on needs identified collectively by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, the Ministry of the Environment, the private sector and other stakeholders. .

Bangladesh has gradually taken action to tackle plastic pollution, with varying results: in 2002, Bangladesh was the first country in the world to ban plastic shopping bags. However, after a while the plastic pollution increased again. The Jute Packaging Act 2010 for six essential items (paddy, rice, wheat, corn, fertilizer, sugar) promoted an alternative to plastic packaging. In 2020, a High Court ordered relevant authorities to ban single-use plastic in coastal areas and in all hotels and motels nationwide.

“To implement the national action plan focused on the 3R strategy, the engagement of all stakeholders, including citizens, government, private sector, development partners and citizens will be important,” noted Eun Joo Allison Yi, Senior Environmental Specialist at the World Bank, and co-author of the report.

To implement the action plan, the report identifies policy reforms, technologies, infrastructure, investments and institutional capacity building needs. The report was prepared in collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment and PROBLUE, a multi-donor trust fund.

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