One clever way to solve the climate crisis, according to a panel of experts, is to transform our current linear economy into a circular one. This transformation will ensure that instead of ending up being waste, resources will get back to nature in a circular way. The experts were making their views known at a climate conference in the city.
The 4-day event, titled "Gobeshona-6: Making Research on Climate in Bangladesh More Effective," was organized by the International Center for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and hosted by Independent University Bangladesh (IUB). It was the sixth annual event of Gobeshona, a platform that brings together a multidisciplinary group of scholars and practitioners to share their knowledge, research and practical experiences on climate change issues in Bangladesh.
In one of the six plenary sessions that followed the inaugural ceremony, the experts deliberated on the adoption of alternative economic models. Speaking at the session on the theme 'Circular Economy: Addressing Poverty and Exclusion for Climate Justice', they noted that most of the world today operates within a linear economy, or a "take, make, waste" model. Global resource use has more than tripled since 1970 to reach 92 billion tons in 2017. It generates two billion tons of solid waste each year. Only 9% of the world's extractive resources are re-used every year. This structure of growth-driven economy is piling up burdens of waste into the environment.
Farah Kabir, Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh, while moderating the session, stated that in the circular economy process, goods are turned into resources. The process can redefine economic growth through focusing on societal benefits in helping to create new green industries and jobs. It will require a lot of behavioral changes.
Dr. Saleemul Huq, Director of ICCCAD, said climate is not just a problem anymore but has become an emergency, a crisis of sorts. "Piecemeal solutions are not enough. We should be thinking about how to reform our global economy in a manner that not only serves as a solution to the climate crisis, but also as solutions to many other associated problems, one of them being the generation of a huge amount of waste," he stated.
Huq went on to say, "We are globally rethinking the entire process of production, consumption and waste generation. The solution lies in engineering a circular rather than a linear economy where waste comes out at one end.
Asif Ibrahim, Vice Chairman of NewAge Group, a leading manufacturer and exporter of woven and knit apparels in Bangladesh, in his remarks said the RMG sector has already taken initiatives in terms of waste management. Bangladesh boasts one of the largest number of LEED certified factories in the world. Moreover, the big brands have taken the initiative to ensure that circularity is one of the key buzzwords.
John Warburton, Senior Environmental Advisor of DFID, was of the view that the government at the national and local level needs to give much clearer signals about the seriousness of the accession to a circular economy.