Experts have urged the government to take initiatives to ratify the Basel Convention Ban Amendment to protect Bangladesh from hazardous plastic waste.
"Bangladesh is a signatory to Basel Convention but it did not sign the Basel Ban Amendment that deals particularly with wastes and hazardous wastes management and its transboundary movement. It is high time to adopt the ban amendments to tackle this toxic situation," said Dr Shahriar Hossain, secretary general of the Environment and Social Development Organisation.
He made the statement in a press conference arranged by the ESDO to unveil their study report titled "Transboundary Movement of Plastic Waste: Situation of Bangladesh" at a Dhaka restaurant on Thursday.
The press conference was followed by an orientation workshop on environmental journalism where journalists from 20 media outlets participated.
The ESDO's report highlighted that around 1.2 million tonnes of plastic waste were shipped to Bangladesh in last three years from developed countries like the USA and the UK.
The report stated that Bangladesh generates 3,000 tonnes of plastic waste everyday but the country receives 73,000 tonnes of such waste from upstream countries through the international river system.
It also disclosed that the problem of toxic wastes pose threats to human health and the environment and one of the guiding principles of the Basel Convention is to minimise the threat of hazardous wastes.
Therefore, the environmental experts present at the press briefing urged the government to adopt the Basel Convention Ban Amendment into the national jurisdiction.
ESDO Chairperson Syed Marghub Morshed and Executive Director Siddika Sultana spoke to the journalists participating in the programme.
David Azoulay, managing attorney of the Center for International Environmental Law's (CIEL) Geneva office and the director of CIEL's Environmental Health Programme, Switzerland, Jim Puckett, founder and executive director, Basel Action Network (BAN), USA, Sirine Rached, global policy advocate at Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), USA joined the session through virtual platform Zoom.