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Polythene bag use must stop.

The use of polythene bags has been declared illegal in Bangladesh since 2002. But it is still widely produced and used and dumped in the country without any let up or hindrance. The Department of Environment (DoE) has recently announced publicly again about polythene ban, but it seems a futile exercise as people do not stop using it. No other suitable alternative has been discovered and offered yet to the users so that they can avoid hazardous polythene bags. People use polythene bags for convenience, mobility and availability. However, mere enactment of laws is not enough to ban polythene bags. Laws will be of little use for the people if those are not enforced strictly. Laws will have hardly any impact if people have scant respect for them. It is worrying to note that violation of laws is rampant and the wholesale markets of polythene bags at Chawkbazar, Begumbazar and Moulvibazar in Dhaka supply these bags countrywide.

Bhairab Bazar in Kishoreganj district is the largest polythene bag market in the country. It is also being manufactured illegally in other districts like Chittagong, Munshiganj, Bogra, Shariatpur, Lalbagh and Kamrangirchar in Dhaka, according to a report. There is no dearth of law breakers, who thrive in an unholy nexus with a section of people belonging to the upper rung of the social ladder. As a result, the drives against the polythene bag manufacturers and sellers conducted by the Department of Environment (DoE) went in vain. Despite ban, polythene bags are still produced, marketed and transported countrywide openly. Nylon, cloth and jute bags are no longer considered as an alternative to polythene.

People seen to be unaware of the noxious effect of polythene use which generators various complexities of the environment and public health. Storing foods in polythene bags can be toxic and cause multiple chronic diseases including cancer. Besides, polythene bags clog drains and waterways, threatening environment and creating severe safety hazards. Moreover, burning of the dumped bags pollutes air by emitting toxic gas like Hydrogen cyanide which is perilously menacing for environment and public health. As we have failed to formulate and find suitable alternative to polythene we should focus on proper and sustainable recycling of such threatening materials and safeguard our environment.

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Publication:The News Today (Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Geographic Code:9BANG
Date:Dec 25, 2017
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