ESDO with support of IPEN, in line with the observation of International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2017 organized a High Level Policy Dialogue on ‘Learn the Risks and Ban Lead Paint’ on 26th October, 2017 at ESDO Head Office. Syed Marghub Murshed, Chairperson of ESDO and former Secretary, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh presided over the meeting. Government officials from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Environment (DoE), Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI), Representatives from Bangladesh Paint Manufactures Association, Academicians and ESDO officials were present at the meeting.
In 2011 a four-year SWITCH-Asia regional project was launched, to decrease production and use of lead paint in different countries including Bangladesh. European Union (EU) Switch Asia Program started their lead paint elimination project in Bangladesh through ESDO in 2012.
To eliminate lead in paints globally, Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead in Paint (GAELP) observes ‘International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week’ every year. The International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action, co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN Environment, was established to raise awareness of the widespread availability of lead paint. IPEN and Partners have taken part in awareness-raising activities and other actions during the Week of Action since 2013. ESDO conducted the dialogue as part of observing International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in Bangladesh. The objective of this meeting was to hasten the process of publishing a gazette with standardization of lead content in paint and to enact the regulation to ban lead paint in Bangladesh.
Syed Marghub Murshed, Chairperson of ESDO and former Secretary, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh said, “Although paint manufacturers association supports the regulation in this regard, it can’t be implemented until or unless government take immediate initiative. It is high time the government enacted the regulation”.
ESDO Secretary General, Dr. Shahriar Hossain said, ” BSTI should be strengthened to immediately publish a gazette”. He added, ” the standard of lead in paint given by WHO should be given much importance”.
Jahora Sikder, Deputy Director (Chemical Division), Bangladesh Standard and Testing Institution (BSTI) said, “We are on the verge of a gazette to limit lead content to 90 ppm in paint of Bangladesh. Now it is a matter of time to reach our common goal”.
Mahmood Hasan Khan, Former Director (AQM), Department of Environment (DoE) praised ESDO’s tremendous effort towards lead-free paint and said, “The standard parameters should be based on country perspective instead of being biased by other factors. So, in Bangladesh paint should be completely lead free”.
Md Saidur Rahman Khan, Senior Assistant Secretary and Deputy Programme Manager, Health Economics Unit, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) said, “Bangladesh government welcomes ESDO’s multi-dimensional activities towards creating Bangladesh lead free.” He focused on continuous policy lobbying to enact a regulation on ban of lead paint in Bangladesh.
Siddika Sultana, Executive Director, ESDO expressed that ESDO hopes that government will immediately take proper steps to ban lead in paint. She also said “We are now observing this week but we are hoping to celebrate it in near future”. She thanked everyone who participated at the dialogue.