Ban on Polythene
SDNP Follow-ups

CCCI to launch massive anti-polybags campaign
Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) will launch a massive campaign demanding a ban on the use of polybags and old vehicles in the port city to check pollution.
"We have been advised by the Minister for Forest and Environment to embark on such a campaign immediately by taking the lead to protect our environment" CCCI president Farid Ahmed Chowdhury said this while talking to this correspondent. "So, our preparations are underway to organise the campaign for
stopping the use of polythene shopping bags and old vehicles emitting black smokes during movement", Farid said.
"We will involve the political leaders, Mayor of Chittagong City Corporation, professionals, experts and teachers of Chittagong University in our programme to make the campaign a success," he said.
He said a seminar would be organised at Chittagong Engineering Institute hall soon to create mass awareness.
"After the seminar, we will take to the street with a big procession to parade the main thoroughfares in the city to mark our campaign", the chamber president added.I hope the minister concerned and his government would come forward to respond to our campaign with a ban on the use of polybags and movement of old transports", he said.

Meanwhile, the government imposed a ban on the use of polybags in the capital Dhaka from January 1 and launched a crackdown on outdated vehicles causing bad impact on the environment. The government would go for such a ban and crackdown in other major cities of the country in phases, sources said. But Chittagong was supposed to come under such a plan in the second phase on priority basis, sources said. Use of huge polybags in this port city regularly caused serious environmental hazards. On the other hand, large number of outdated vehicles are also plying on the city roads showing thumb to the traffic police personnel having reportedly their 'indirect' collusion with the owners and operators, sources said. Some of the 1944-model trucks are often found getting out of order on the roads and highways regularly while those are again repaired on the spots causing problems on traffic movement, witnesses said.

Hon'ble Minister for MOEF , today, the 28th ,december,01, along with officials of moef, has visited Mouchak Market, Malibag shopping centre, Rampura Market, Shantinagar Market to drum home the decision of the Govt on the banning of polythene shopping bag in Dhaka city w.e.f. 1st of January,2002. This is a part of the whole programme. Tomorrow,29 December,01 He will start this promme from Mirpur 1& 2 market and end at Gouchia Market, coming through Mohammad Pur and New Market.

'Food wrapped in polythene causes cencer'
BSS, Dhaka

Talking to BSS, Executive Director of ESDO and a polythene expert Dr Hossain Shahriar, quoting findings of a research on polythene conducted by the Korean Institute of Health Research, said workers at polythene factories are more exposed to cancer, skin disease and other fatal health problems.

He said polythene-wrapped fish and meat generate a kind of heat that creates radiation which ultimately makes the food poisonous.

Besides, the polythene-wrapped fish, meat and vegetables get infected by anaerobic bacteria, a germ responsible for skin disease and cancer, Dr Shahriar said. He said, the colour used in polythene bags in our country is also a threat to public health. A nutrition expert of Kolkata Medical College Hospital, Dr Shashwati Roy, in a research found that taking tea in polycup can be a cause of ulcer and cancer. Experts say, polythene bags and other plastic materials, if burnt below 7,000 degrees Celsius, create a dioxin like poisonous gas, which can cause cancer and skin diseases. Polythene bags dumped near households are the safe havens for breeding mosquitoes, which causes dengue fever, filariasis and malaria, they warned.

Programs concerning the ban on polythene shopping bags in Dhaka metropolis: Rally, organized by the Ministry of Environment and Forest

The rally, organized by the Ministry of Environment and Forest will be held on December 27, 2001 instead of December 26, 2001. This rally will start from Paltan Moidan at 11:00 AM.

You are invited to attend the rally with your publicity materials on  adverse implication of polythene shopping bags on environment and human health including banner and festoons featuring the ban on polythene shopping bags in Dhaka from January 1, 2002. You may like to use some  slogans in favor of polythene ban in the festoons such as "we love Dhaka and we will make the city free from polythene pollution from January 1, 2002.

You are also requested to invite your partner organizations to participate in the rally.

Decision to prohibit polybags welcome
The ban will be as good as its implementation
Source: The Daily Star, Wed. December 26, 2001

AT long last, the ban on polybags seems firmly on course. The cabinet has okayed the environment ministry's proposal to prohibit use and marketing of thin polythene bags in Dhaka city from January 1, 2002. Something of a pleasant new year's gift in prospect! It is the 20 micron wafer-thin variety that is coming under the prohibitive orders. This is the scourge the market has been saturated with. As a non-biodegradable environmental hazard it has already wreaked havoc on public sanitation, not to speak of the irreparable damage its further use would inevitably bring to our life-system.

What we find hope-giving is that the government has after all weathered the initial lobby pressure to be able to announce the ban as an assertive signal that it means business down the road. BNP's earlier effort in 1994 and AL's subsequent initiative to ban polybags, both towards the end of their respective tenures in government, were predisposed to failure because of extremely limited lead-time they allowed themselves to bring it to any logical conclusion. We have always tried to carry the point with any new incumbency that hard decisions better be taken latest by the first year of the take-over.

There's no overstating, however, as to what the government has done at this stage. They have merely decided to prohibit the sale or use of polybags so that till such time as they have stopped the production of the same, the ban cannot truly take effect. Very importantly therefore, what remains to be done is crying a halt to the manufacture of polybags. Then we take the ban on sale and production of the item beyond Dhaka and major cities, well into the outlying areas of the country to cut all corners.

The most crucial input to the whole process ought to come from an assured supply of convenient and low-cost substitutes for polythene bags. There is an urgent need for rapid capacity building in terms of manufacturing and marketing paper bags, jute bags or carry-easy wrapping or container materials of all sorts.

Between the announcement of the ban and its implementation, the time-lag should be minimal; in fact these can be planned to go hand in hand so that the anti-ban lobbies don't feel resurrected to try and scuttle the noble undertaking.

Ministry of Environment and Forest [MOEF] has recently taken following programs concerning the ban on polythene shopping bags in Dhaka metropolis
w.e.f.1 January 2002:

22 Dec: 4 P.M: Discussion organised by MOEF/FEJB at Press Club to be attended by the MOEF Minister
24 Dec: 3 P.M: Meeting with Ward Commissioners/Officers of Municipal Corp. at Nagar Bhaban Conference Room
25 Dec: 4 P.M. Press Conference at Dept of Environment Conference Room
26 Dec: 11 A.M. Rally of govt, NGOs, civil society groups from Paltan Maidan

All environmental activists, NGOs and civil society groups are especially requested to join the rally on 26 December to start from the Paltan at 11 A.M.

Government of Bangladesh has Banned use of Polythene


"Government has banned use of polythene shopping bags within the Dhaka metropolis w.e.f.01 January 2002. All concernend, especially the Dhaka city dwellers are therefore requested to cooperate the govt in implementing the govt decision aiming at conservation of environment of this fragile metropolis".

A meeting with the cross section of society will be held on 12 December at 11 A.M. at LGED Conference Rom chaired by the MOEF Minister Shahjahan Shiraj. More programs are in the offing. Please continue posting further developments in this regard in consultation of Mr Rabi Gopal, Dy Director, Dhaka Division, DOE.

Dr Mahfuzul Haque
Dy Secy, MOEF
off: 8612987, e.mail:
res: 8614880, 8631548, e.mail:

Ban on manufacture, use of polythene in city from Jan 1

Source: Daily Star

The government has decided to ban manufacture and use of polythene bags in the capital city from January 1 next year, considering their adverse impact on the environment.

"Manufacture and use of polythene-made shopping bags will be banned initially in Dhaka city and then across the country in phases. In the second phase, the ban will be imposed in other major cities," said Forest and Environment Minister Shahjahan Siraj.

Talking with members of the Forum of Environmental Journalists of Bangladesh (FEJB) at his Secretariat office yesterday, the minister said officials concerned are now examining whether there is any legal aspect of the proposed ban.

FEJB Chairman Quamrul Islam Chowdhury who led the delegation spoke about activities of the organisation.

The minister said the government is very much concerned over degradation of environment in the country and will take necessary steps immediately to eliminate air pollution, noise pollution and lead pollution. It will effectively deal with issues like proper disposal of industrial wastes, indiscriminate setting up of brick fields and saving the Buriganga and other rivers from illegal encroachments, he added.

Shahjahan Siraj said the government has decided to begin the process by banning use and manufacture of polythene bags. If necessary, laws would be amended for protecting the people from environmental hazards.

He mentioned that the Ministry of Forest and Environment has already discussed with the ministries of Jute and Textile and NGOs to find out alternatives of polythene shopping bags. The environment secretary has been asked to look into the matter on an urgent basis.

The minister pointed out that there could be temporary problems due to the ban. "We are also thinking of importing of bags made of paper and cloth on a temporary basis till domestic jute and textile industries can ensure adequate supply of bags."

Regarding unemployment of people now working in polythene factories, he said steps will be taken to absorb them in jute and textile sectors.

About three-wheeler autorickshaws, he said the prime minister has already instructed that immediate steps should be taken to eliminate emission of black smoke by these vehicles. An inter-ministerial meeting will be held soon to take a final decision. "I think elimination of autorickshaws' black smoke is not a big task and we will be able to do it soon."

The steps initiated by the caretaker government to save the Buriganga from illegal encroachments will continue, he said. Steps will also be taken to free the river from pollution.

Shahjahan Siraj regretted that the Environment Ministry is not being able to discharge its responsibilities freely as more than three other ministries are involved in its activities.

He however said all obstacles to enforcement of environment-related laws would be removed soon.

Unlike the previous government, BNP government will not do politics capitalising on issues concerning rickshaws, autorickshaws and such other vehicles, he said.

Responding to a FEJB suggestion, the minister said the National Environmental Council headed by the Prime Minister would be reactivated immediately and if necessary, recast. Representation of FEJB in all committees relating to environment would be ensured.

Environment Secretary Mahfuzul Islam said, "We have to proceed considering alternative employment of the workers of polythene factories."

The others who spoke included FEJB vice chairman Anwar Hossain Manju, general secretary Mofizur Rahman, joint secretary Abdul Jalil Bhuiyan, Sharif Shahabuddin and Giasuddin Ahmed. Director General of the Department of Environment Hedayetul Islam Chowdhury and high officials of the ministry were present.



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