Speakers at a workshop on Tuesday have demanded an effective e-waste management system, knowledge creation and recycling of the wastes through public private partnership (PPP) schemes.
The workshop styled "Efficient Use of Digital Technology and Effective E-Waste Management in Bangladesh" was participated by NGOs, CSOs, journalists, women and youths, said a press release.
Quoting data ascertained by the Environment and Social Development Organisation (ESDO), the speakers briefed the participants that e-waste is increasing at the rate of 20 per cent every year and there is no guideline on e-waste management in the country.
Such wastes contain highly toxic chemicals components that can contaminate soil, groundwater and air, as well as affect the workers and the community living around it, they said.
They also demanded the intervention of government in formulation of certain policies on how to deal with e-waste management.
Voices for interactive Choice and Empowerment (VOICE) in collaboration with Association for Progressive Communication (APC) organised the programme at the CIVIC centre of Dhaka.
Eminent journalist and writer Saleem Samad, North South University teacher Dr Aireen Zaman, convenor of Reverine People Sheikh Rokon, former president of Dhaka Reporters Unity Jamal Uddin, Darpan's director Bashanti Shaha spoke the occasion as resource experts.
The session was moderated by Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE, while the key note presentation was delivered by Abtab Khan Shawon, programme officer of VOICE.
The presentation explained how rapid economicand technological development has resulted in amplified use of electronic good and increased e-waste leading towards a new environmental challenge.
According to ESDO, Bangladesh is generating around 2.8 million metric tons of e-waste every year. Throughout the last two decades cell-phones alone produced 10,504 metric tonnes of toxics e-waste. Approximately 50,000 children are informally involved with e-waste collection.
Every year around 296,302 TV sets are scrapped, generating approximately 0.17 million metric tonnes of e-waste.
E-waste generated from ship breaking yards alone accounts for more than 2.5 million metric tons of toxics e-waste each year. It causes death to more than 15 per cent of child workers as a result of e-waste recycling. An additional 83 per cent become exposed to toxics substances.
Bangladesh currently has no specific environmental policy or act or guidelines to directly manage the e-waste problem.
Though a draft regulation on 'E-waste management rules' was developed and amended in 2011 and 2017 respectively under the Environment Conservation Act, 1995, no progress in rules acceptance and implementation has been visible till date, added the speakers.
Against such a backdrop, they demanded an integrated collaboration of policy formulation and intervention, community awareness, effective waste management system, knowledge creation and recycling of e-waste through public private partnership participation.
The participants also highlighted for urgent need to establish e-waste treatment plant and the Local E-good producers' involvement in the process.
Besides, the discussion strongly urged of further research, investigation and knowledge intervention in the sector.