Dhaka, 02 March, 2019: The excessive use of Single Use of Plastic may bring a catastrophic scenario in Bangladesh very soon. With a view to encourage mass people to quit single use plastic, Environment and Social Development Organization-ESDO has organized a day long mobile Campaign on 2nd March in different important place in Dhaka. The campaigner took stand in front of National Assembly, Dhaka University Teacher-students Center (TSC), Gulshan DNCC market and Gulshan Circle 2.
Single-use plastics or disposable plastics are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. Single use plastic includes drinking straws, Plastic cotton buds, Sachets, food packaging, coffee stirrers, water bottles and plastic bags etc. The main problem with these single use plastics is they are non-recyclable and non-biodegradable. They slowly break down into smaller fragments known as microplastics. In the process of breaking down, it releases toxic chemicals which enter into our food chain and water supply. These toxic chemicals are now being found in our bloodstream. And the latest research has linked them to cancer, infertility, birth defects, impaired immunity and many other ailments.
ESDO Team started their campaign from TSC, Dhaka University in the morning. Concern students from Dhaka University and mass people join on the campaign. Tamjid Ahmed, student of Dhaka University said, “Single use plastic is a curse for our environment. They have severe effects on our respiratory, nervous system and also in reproductive systems. To protect our environment Govt. should take immediate action against it.” The campaign moved towards Gulshan DNCC market at noon. Abdul Jabbar, a fruit seller in DNCC market said, “We don’t want to use Single Use of Plastic, due to its cost efficiency we are using it. But we urge to the Govt. to introduce its alternatives to protect public health and environment.” On the Evening Campaign moved in front of National Parliament. Mr. Raihan Ali, an engineer came to visit along with his family said, “The initiative of ESDO to create awareness against Single Use Plastic is highly appreciable. Even over here you can see sachets, wrappers, straw etc are here and there all around. Our Govt. should introduce law against Single Use Plastic to save our future generation.”
From the initial survey conducted by ESDO, it is estimated that only from old town in Dhaka, around 250 tons of single use straws and plastics cutleries are being sold per month, in different parts of Bangladesh. It is estimated from ESDO study that with other sources around 312 tons single use plastics are being sold per month in all over Bangladesh. The amount was calculated through a questionnaire survey which was done both for whole sale manufacturer and retailers. Only from 5 straw and cutleries manufacturer companies, around 9 core 75 lak pieces of single use plastics are selling in each month in the form of straws and cutleries which weight is equivalence to 195 tons per month. On the other hand, from the 25 retailers, around 50 tons of single use plastics are produced in the same way in Chokbazar area. Among these single use plastics, approximately 80 to 85% are discarded waste which end point is in the drain, river or ocean and this are creating massive pollution in the nearby rivers and at the end in the Bay of Bengal. In Bangladesh, Chakbazar old town is the only area from where they are whole sells plastic straws and cutleries all over in Bangladesh.
Single use plastic contains various polymers like in food packaging film they contains Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), Cutlery, plates and cups contains polystyrene (PS), Hot drink cups, insulated food
Packaging contains Expanded polystyrene (EPS), a Microwave dish, ice cream tubs, potato chip bags, bottle caps contains Polycarbonate polypropylene (PP). Foamed plastic contains styrene and Benzene which are toxic and carcinogenic.
There are so many countries all over the world have taken initiatives to Ban or reduce the consumption of Single-Use Plastics. Costa Rica now aims to become the first country in the world to ban all kinds of single-use plastics by 2021. In Vancouver of Canada, Great Britain, Sikinos island of Greece, New Delhi of India, Guatemala, Glasgow of Scotland, Taiwan, European Union, Switzerland and some states of America took strong initiatives for banning plastic straws immediately. Bangladesh also should come forward to stop the use of this Single use plastic for saving the nature and environment.
To stop this pollution, we can think about alternatives. Environmentally more friendly alternatives of plastic straws as for example Bamboo straws, Glass straws, Metal straws, Stainless Steel Straws and Paper straws could be the better options in this situation.