Plastic Pollution in Dhaka: 30,000 tons of Plastic Waste in 4 Rivers around the Capital
Bangladesh: Data is from the West Concerns survey. 92% of the masks and gloves used by fall into the river through canals, swamps, and drains.
All industrial waste and urban sewage are dumping into the river. Due to this, the once crystal clear rivers like the Buriganga and the Karnafuli are now severe pollution victims.
The pollution picture of other rivers in the country is almost the same. Some recent studies have revealed even more severe dangers. And that is plastic pollution. Thirty thousand tons of plastic waste has been found in four rivers around the Capital alone.
Half of it is in the Buriganga.
The data came from a survey by West Concern, a Non-Governmental Organization funded by the World Bank. Earlier in 2018, the Buriganga was listed as one of the most polluted rivers globally by the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
According to data released by the World Bank, the Ganges, the Padma, and the Jamuna were jointly identified as the second most polluted basin globally in terms of plastic pollution in 2020.
Md. Maqsood Sinha, Executive Director of West Concern, told a prominent local daily, “Plastic pollution has intensified in the rivers of other major cities of the country as well as in the rivers around Dhaka. We have surveyed the four rivers and found that there is no barrier to dumping plastic and other garbage. These rivers have been turned into landfills.”
Plastic pollution is increasing amid the COVID 19 pandemic.
Like other countries globally, the air in Bangladesh has become clearer during the COVID 19 pandemic. Carbon emissions have dropped by 4%. Diversity has also returned to nature.
But even in this, plastic pollution in the river has brought a picture of despair. Of them, 92% of the masks and gloves used by humans to fight against the COVID 19 fall into the river through canals, swamps, and drains.
According to the World Wildlife Fund’s August estimates, every month since April, 129 billion masks and 66 billion gloves are falling into the sea through the river. In the past, 800 million tons of plastic used to flow into the sea through waterways every year, which leads to the death of 10 lakh seabirds and 1 lakh fish every year (1 Million = 10 Lakh or lac).
There are 300 types of plastic in the Bay of Bengal
An ongoing study by the international environmental organization National Geographic on plastic pollution, entitled ‘From Source to Sea,’ have emerged more terrible pictures.
According to the team’s observation formed with the world’s top women environmental scientists, 300 types of plastic products fall into the Bay of Bengal from the Padma. Everything was on that list, from soft drink bottles to dishes, cosmetics wrappers, and everyday dishes and jugs. After use, it dumps in various water reservoirs.
Later it fell from the river into the Bay of Bengal. The study is conducting in several steps. Of these, two steps were completed last year.
When asked, Director General of the Department of Environment, AKM Rafiq Ahmed said to that national daily, “Plastic manufacturing companies have to collect it and throw it in a safe place.
Countries that make plastics also have to take responsibility of this pollution. So, altogether we are working to control plastic pollution. We are also campaigning against polythene factories and its uses.”
Last June, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) released a report entitled “The State of Plastic Use in the World.” Every day, about 73,000 tons of plastic waste is flowing into the Bay of Bengal through Bangladesh. It is fifth in the world in terms of quantity. The sources of this waste are China, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh in the Ganges, Jamuna, and Brahmaputra basins.
These wastes go to the sea through Padma, Meghna, and Jamuna of Bangladesh.
According to a report of 2019 by the Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO), a Non-Governmental Organization, at present, 65 lakh (6.5 Millions) tons of plastic waste has been deposited in the water and land of Bangladesh. Three thousand tons are being added to it every day.
The organization has identified plastic and polythene bags as major threats to the country’s environment. In a country where the growth rate of organic waste is 5.2 percent, the growth rate of plastic waste is 7.5 percent. Despite knowing it is harmful to the environment, 61 percent of people in the country use polythene bags.
Gawsia Wahidunnesa Chowdhury, one of the research team members of ‘From Source to Sea’ and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Zoology at Dhaka University, said that people in Bangladesh use more plastic due to their large population and economic reasons.
As a result, cheap, eco-friendly products have to invent as an alternative to plastic—those who are using plastic need to be aware of it not to throw plastic materials everywhere.