Industrial waste has now become the most important source of pollution for Bangladesh’s land, water, and air.
Rivers of the country are dying because of continuous and increasing industrial pollution.
Despite efforts on the part of the government and the civil society, most of the industrial plants of the country are yet to have the effluent treatment facilities (ETF).
Even some of the enterprises that have ETF, do not activate them in order to cut costs.
In addition to ETF, industrial enterprises need to have appropriate disposal system for solid waste and necessary scrubbing facilities for removal of pollutants from their gaseous emissions.
Industrial Effluent and Emission Quality Standard Promulgated in 1997 under the Environmental Conservation Act of 1995 is not strictly enforced.
Brick kilns are an important source of air pollution all across the country.
Cement factories set up on river shoals (chars) are destroying the rivers and the adjoining areas through their solid and liquid waste and, in particular, dust emissions.
The requirement of obtaining environmental clearance, as part of the approval process of any industrial project, is not fulfilled properly.
Owners and managers of industrial enterprises need to be educated and made aware about the damage that their emissions and waste and their use of various physical resources cause to the environment and economy of the country.
In many cases workers of industrial enterprise themselves are the direct victims of the pollution created, as illustrated most glaringly by the situation in the tannery industry of Bangladesh.
In the interest of workers of industrial enterprises to fight against pollution to save both themselves from the direct impact of pollution and the neighboring population and the people of Bangladesh large from the damaging consequences of industrial pollution.
Workers’ movement should be a natural ally of the environment movement.
BEN’s recommendation regarding industrial waste
All industrial enterprises of the country should be equipped with effluent treatment facilities (ETFs).
Measures have to be taken to ensure that the enterprises actually use the ETFs, and for that purpose surveillance committees are formed with participation of local people.
In places where suitable (such as in industrial parks set up by the government) centralized ETFs should be set up, with compulsory participation and sharing of costs of the centralized ETFs.
In addition to ETFs, industrial enterprises should be required to put in place safe disposal system of their solid waste and scrubbing facilities to remove pollutants from their gaseous emissions.
In all situations, “polluters pay” principle has to be followed, so that costs for cleaning up are borne by the polluters themselves and not by taxpayers.
Policies have to be pursued to discourage setting up of excessively polluting industries in Bangladesh.
Appropriate zoning has to be made so that industrial enterprises are concentrated in specified areas to make it easier to contain the pollution created by them.
Policies have to be pursued to encourage the development of more environment friendly industries.
Strict measures should be taken to make sure that the cement factories do not pollute the neighboring land, water, and air by their solid, liquid, and gaseous waste.
Waste minimization, pollution prevention programs and environment management system have to be encouraged in industries.
Workers’ organizations and trade unions should be given a role in monitoring the environmental consequences of the respective industrial enterprises.
Local population should be mobilized and given a role in monitoring the pollution created by industrial enterprises and acting as a countervailing force.