Polythene bags clogging up city’s drains

Lax enforcement of the existing ban and lack of awareness worsen the crisis during monsoon The drain in the capital’s Jurain is supposed to carry waste and rain waters but is clogged with scrapped polythene sheets. The photo was taken yesterday  Photo- Mahmud Hossain Opu

As the arrival of monsoon brings with it more frequent occurrences of water stagnation in Dhaka city, authorities concerned fail to address the potential of polythene bags to inflict further damage to the existing crisis.

Although polythene bags were banned in the country in 2002, little enforcement of the restriction has been seen so far.

“We are carrying out operations at different times, but we cannot succeed in stopping it totally. Everyone, including the buyers and the sellers, has to be aware about polythene bags; only then will it stop,” said AKM Mizanur Rahman, director (planning) at Department of Environment.

As the impact of disposing non-biodegradable polythene bags remains invisible to the naked eyes, people remain unaware that the plastic material accumulates in the environment over time – leading to slow but deadly consequences.

In Dhaka city, the discarded bags clog up the sewers and affect the drainage system, resulting in water stagnation in places where the problem could have been avoided.

Despite the dangers, it is the low production cost that makes the plastic bags more common at grocery stores and more acceptable to customers.

Abdul Aziz, a consumer at Karwan Bazar who was using a polythene bag to carry the mangoes he just bought, admitted to the Dhaka Tribune that he was aware about the ban on plastic bags, but could not refuse it when the shopkeeper supplied it.

Anwar Hossain, a shopkeeper at Hatirpool Bazar, said there was no alternative, environment-friendly or cost-effective shopping bags available.

He added that most customers did not carry any reusable bags and asked for polythene bags that could be discarded easily.

Even though there had been some success last year in seizing plastic bags from the capital’s markets, no such drive has been carried out so far this year, said RAB 3 Operation Officer Md Saiful Islam Saif.



Source: Dhaka Tribune