19 March 2012

Environmentalists concerned over electronic waste in Bangladesh:

Dhaka, Bangladesh (AHN) – Environmentalists, academics, researchers and social justice activists on Monday expressed grave concern over the illegal dumping of electronic wastes (e-wastes) in Bangladesh.
The groups have demanded the government formulate an integrated national policy for implementation and monitoring with the participation of the stakeholders.
E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in Bangladesh and has emerged as a top lucrative business in the country, said Dr. Hossain Shahriar of Environmental and Social Development Organizations (ESDO), an activist group.
Bangladesh is one of the highest e-waste generating countries in the world. It produces 2.7 million metric tons of e-waste. The ship-dismantling industry alone produces 90 percent of the wastes, according to a study by ESDO presented at the capital, Dhaka, on Monday.
An estimated 700 ships reach their final destination in Bangladesh, where they come to be dismantled and salvaged. Wastes from the electronics inside the vessels are produced at the shipyards on Bangladesh’s southern coast.
The ship scrap carries huge volumes of toxic products, as well as electric and electronic wastes, which include neon lamps and light bulbs, light switches, hundreds of miles of electrical wires and tons of cables, in addition to kitchen and laundry appliances, television monitors and computers.
The tradeoff and trans-boundary movement does not address the critical environmental, social and economic impacts on an impoverished nation of 150 million, about the size of the state of Texas.
Siddika Sultana Shika, executive director of ESDO, said most importantly the country does not have the expertise or the skills for e-waste management. The impromptu e-waste recyclers are the major sources of environmental hazards, he said.
The recycling trade has grown into one of the largest suppliers of metal scrap for the booming construction industry and other spent fuels, which have caused hazards for the environment, health and life in the region, said Hossain.
Despite repeated higher court directives, Bangladesh authorities have failed to curb the environmental menace created by the shipbreaking yards.
Weak legislation is to be blamed for the recycle industry’s notoriety. They enjoy wide political patronage of the government despite committing unabated environmental and social crimes, charged Shahriar.
Source: Grant Daily. By Saleem Samad. 19 March 2012


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