The British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson recently paid a visit to Unilever's Plastic Waste Management Project (PWMP) site in Narayanganj City Corporation.
A partnership has been ongoing between Unilever Bangladesh, FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) company, and UNDP Bangladesh.
In partnership with Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC), they have created a sustainable plastic waste management model (PWM), focusing on the urban areas of Bangladesh, including major cities such as Narayanganj.
The Mayor of Narayanganj City Corporation, Dr Salina Hayat Ivy attended as chief guest in this occasion.
Nguyen Thi Ngoc Van, deputy resident representative, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Sarder M Asaduzzaman, assistant resident representative, head of Programme Management and Partnership Support Unit (PMPSU), UNDP Bangladesh, Zaved Akhtar, CEO and managing director, Unilever Bangladesh Limited, Shahidul Islam, chief executive officer, Narayanganj City Corporation, and other key officials from both organisations were present.
The dignitaries visited the plastic collection station supported by the project, observed the daily plastic collection process, visited households to see plastic segregation practices, engaged with community leaders, waste pickers, and street cleaners and finally visited the plastic value addition centre run by the project.
The day-long visit helped the dignitaries learn about plastic waste challenges and how multistakeholder participation can build a sustainable model for the country.
On his visit, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson said, "It has been wonderful to see Unilever, Narayanganj City Corporation, UNDP and the British High Commission working together in the Plastic Waste Management project. We must continue to collaborate to create opportunities for plastic management in the city."
Zaved Akhtar, CEO and managing director, Unilever Bangladesh, said, "At Unilever, we are committed to improving the health of the planet, and as a part of our Compass Commitment of keeping plastic in the loop, we have a target to collect more plastic than we sell by 2025. With UNDP's community outreach, Unilever's business acumen, and Narayanganj City Corporation's unwavering support, we have created Bangladesh's largest municipality-backed plastic waste management project. We believe our action will inspire industry and the government to achieve Bangladesh's Green Growth Strategy and the SDG targets."
UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Van Nguyen, said, "Recognising the problem and links between plastic pollution and urban development, Unilever and UNDP are working together to conduct a pilot project to establish appropriate waste management models to create a circular economy, essential to help reduce the amount of plastic waste. We are also educating people about ways to segregate, recycle and reduce plastic by bringing about behavioural changes in the communities. Today, I am especially pleased to meet women cleaning service organisation leaders working with this project. Together, we are not only achieving improvements in plastic waste management but also on local level leadership building of women and girls, which is further contributing towards changing the gender dynamics within communities."
According to the media release, the plastic waste management project (PWMP) proposes to find a business model with a value proposition for each actor involved in the plastic waste value chain. Eco-Social Development Organization (ESDO) is the implementing partner of the project, while Ernst & Young Global (EY) is working to create citizen awareness on plastic waste management. Such initiatives are not only reducing environmental impact per capita, but the coordinated efforts are also improving wider developmental agendas, including livelihood and health outcomes of the waste pickers.