Environment Opportunities

An Expert's View about Water Treatment in Bangladesh

Last updated: 21 Aug 2011

Bangladesh suffers from environmental problems of every kind – pollution of air and water and deterioration of the quantity and quality of its natural resources: soil, water, forests and fisheries.

Sector briefing Environment Opportunities in Bangladesh Why Bangladesh? With recent economic growth averaging over 5 percent, Bangladesh has succeeded in reducing the incidence of poverty to 40 percent of its population of nearly 150 million and shows promise of meeting several of its Millennium Development Goals. Nevertheless, the country faces huge challenges in further reducing poverty, alleviating pressure on natural resources and in reversing decades of environmental degradation. Bangladesh suffers from environmental problems of every kind ? pollution of air and water and deterioration of the quantity and ?Bangladesh has achieved quality of its natural resources: soil, water, forests and fisheries. Inadequate management several milestones in of the environment is impacting human health, environment sector despite causing economic damage and irreversible the hardship from poverty, biodiversity losses. The World Bank has resource scarcity, percent of Gross Domestic Product1. Although pressure from civil society has increased overpopulation, corruption awareness of environmental issues and the and natural calamities.? estimated that economic costs of environmental degradation amount to 4.3 Government of Bangladesh (GoB) has enacted a series of environmental protection laws, the market for environmental goods and services remains under-developed. UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Environment Opportunities in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Overview Environment Sector in The Peoples Republic of Bangladesh covers an Bangladesh 2 area of approximately 144 000 km and its geographical location is to the east of India. Bangladesh has achieved several milestones in environment sector despite the hardship from The Awami League (AL) led Grand Alliance won poverty, resource scarcity, overpopulation, a free, fair and a neutrally conducted election corruption and natural calamities. on 29 December 2008. The Awami League Achievements ranged from incorporation of under the Leadership of Sheikh Hasina has environmental concerns in sectoral policy formed the new government as she took oath formulation to benchmarking success at the as the Prime Minister for second time with 23 field level. ministers and eight state ministers in her 31- member council of ministers on 6 January Despite of achieving some success to fight 2009. environmental issues Bangladesh faces a growing number of multifarious environmental The economy has grown by 5-6% per year problems. The following are several since 1996 despite political instability, poor environmental issues that significantly affect infrastructure, corruption, insufficient power Bangladesh?s economy. supplies and slow implementation of economic reforms. Although more than half of GDP is Water Pollution: mostly concentrated in generated through the service sector, nearly urban growth centres and industrial belts. Due two-thirds of Bangladeshis are employed in the to lack of adequate regulatory measures and agricu institutional setup for proper monitoring and lture sector, with rice as the single-most- control, pollutants from municipal, industrial important product. Bangladesh's growth was and agricultural waste enter into the inland resilient during 2008-09 despite the global water system. Major causes of pollution that financial crisis and recession. Garment exports, aggravate water quality are industrial effluents, totalling $12.3 billion in FY09 and remittances agrochemical, focal pollution, spillage and low from overseas Bangladeshis totalling $9.7 water flow in dry season. billion in FY09 accounted for almost 25% of GDP. Perhaps more surprisingly, investors located in the GoB?s six Export Processing Zones (EPZs) Statistics also currently discharge their untreated effluent directly into the rivers. None of these GDP per capita (2010) US$685 EPZ?s has yet constructed a common Effluent GDP US$ 100.08 billion Treatment Plant (ETP). (The EPZs are GDP Growth Rate (2010) 5.83% (Provisional) supposed to offer their tenant companies self- Population (estimated) 156 million contained, reliable infrastructure e.g. power Birth rate (Per 1000 20.4 provision and environmental facilities. Population) Net population growth rate 1.39 % Arsenic poisoning of municipal drinking water Foreign exchange reserves £10.5 billion supply remains a serious health threat in (Feb, 2010) Bangladesh, with more than 33 million people Inflation (Inflation January 8.14% thought to be at risk. 2011) Financial year July-June Surface water pollution, made more serious by Source: Ministry of Finance a potent mix of human sewage, municipal waste and industrial effluent is also prevalent in Bangladesh. Solid waste: Estimates for solid waste generated in Dhaka city vary from 3,000 to 3,500 tons per day. They come from households, commercial and industrial establishments and street sweepings. Households generate most of the solid waste, UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Environment Opportunities in Bangladesh. accounting for nearly 45% of the total. Only paper and cement factories ? these emit most 42% of the solid waste generated in of the chemical to air. Dhaka city is estimated to be collected by the municipal authorities. The indiscriminate Air Pollution: Air pollution is more acute in disposal of solid waste in public places causes urban areas than in rural areas. In urban area, serious environmental hazards and health the main sources of air pollution are emission risks. of harmful gaseous matters from vehicle, industrial sectors, and construction and open The GoB itself has enjoyed a notable success in dumping of garbage. In rural area, main reducing the environmental impact of millions sources are brick kilns and wood and biomass of discarded polythene bags. Although consumption. Due to rapid urbanization the problems still exist, with 80% of blocked drains total number of vehicles has increased rapidly. still clogged with old bags a law to ban the The automobiles on the road are often very production and use of polythene bags, which old, overloaded and poorly maintained and came into effect back in 2002, has been well emit smoke far exceeding the prescribed limit. observed. Industrial development is another major source of air pollution. Most of the industries in More recently, there have been some efforts to Bangladesh are situated in major urban areas. improve the organizational structure of solid Food industry emits maximum amount of waste management in different cities in pollutants followed by cement, pulp and paper Bangladesh. For instance, in order to improve industry and textile. Among food industry, waste management services, the Dhaka City most of the pollutants come from the sugar Corporation (DCC) established a Solid Waste mills. Management Cell. The DCC has fully privatized solid waste management in some areas in Industrial air pollution continues unhindered. Dhaka Among the GoB?s least effective measures to this point is the order for brick kiln owners to Medical Waste: More than 3000 clinics, raise the height of their chimney stacks to 120 hospitals and diagnostic centres in Bangladesh feet, which has been mostly ignored. Pulp and paper factories emit sulphur dioxide, hydrogen currently generate an estimated 900 tonnes of sulphide and methyl; cement plants particulate medical waste every day. Only a few have dust, CO, SO2, NO2; and the metallurgical disposal facilities. Alarmingly, the unregulated sector spits out nitrous vapour, chromic acids disposal of used syringes, needles, saline drips, and chlorides. gauze and vials enables these hazardous wastes to re-enter the informal sector of the Climate Change economy creating an enormous risk to public health. Several international studies have identified Bangladesh as a country that could be most The combination of considerable foreign affected by climate change and resulting rises investment into the healthcare sector over the in sea levels. next two years will significantly increase the demand for environmentally sound medical The contribution of Bangladesh to green house waste treatment and disposal facilities like gas emission is considered to be very negligible incineration, steam autoclaving, chemical in the global context of this issue. But her treatment, microwave/radio frequency/ gamma vulnerability to climate change is considered to irradiation etc. have massive and disastrous consequences for Bangladesh. IPCC impact assessments identify Hazardous and toxic wastes: Very limited Bangladesh as one of the most susceptible data is available on the hazardous and toxic countries of the world. These impacts range wastes in Bangladesh. The top toxic chemicals from an overall increase in sea level, polluters are the tanneries and leather atmospheric temperature, and rainfall to more industry, followed by pulp and paper, intense natural disasters in the form of floods, pharmaceuticals, fertilizer/pesticides and cyclones, storm surges, drought and others industrial chemicals. In most cases, the consequential impacts. chemicals are disposed on land as part of the solid waste, parts of which are then collected and recycled. Exceptions are the pulp and UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Environment Opportunities in Bangladesh. Principal Environmental Institutions The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF), as with all ministries, is largely staffed by rotating administrators with little specialist knowledge or this it is dependent on the departments under its authority. However, it has taken initiatives for a wide range of related policy and strategy statements covering global climate change and environmental issues. The Department of Environment (DoE) was only established in 1995 and has responsibilities for assessing environmental impacts of new developments and clearing these (or not), for ensuring compliance with the various international treaties and conventions, for mainstreaming climate change issues, and for environmental protection in ECAs. The Forest Department (FD) has a long history dating back to the 19th century and has direct control of all official forest lands through a substantial field staff. Its primary function and expertise is in production plantations, including mangrove afforestation, with wildlife conservation and protected areas only gaining significant recognition since 2000. Its strengths are its extensive staff and ability to guard forest lands in its possession, but it is strongly authoritarian in outlook with most field staff lacking skills or real interest in participatory management, even though that is now FD policy. Under the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock (MoFL), the Department of Fisheries (DoF) is responsible for fisheries management, including maintaining natural fish stocks. UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Environment Opportunities in Bangladesh. which they have purchased mainly from India Opportunities and China. GoB has finally begun to address the country?s The largest water polluting industries are more serious environmental issues, but there textiles and clothing (1000 factories), tanneries are other factors driving the development of (500) and the growing number of the market for environmental goods and pharmaceutical plants (200 and rising). With services. Some sub-sectors of the market are only a handful of exceptions, these companies developing more quickly than others. Here are discharging organic and in-organic follows a brief summary of the more mature hazardous wastes unchecked, directly into sub-sectors where environmental business rivers, canals, lakes and surface areas. opportunities exist for foreign companies. Waste Management Air Pollution Control The rising urban population has been changing Air pollution is more acute in urban areas than in rural areas. A continuous monitoring is the nature of solid waste management in necessary to evaluate air quality and for the Bangladesh from mainly a localised issue to a development plan to mitigate the health risk more distinct and persistent social problem. from air pollution. DoE has set up 4 monitoring Despite the growing extent of this problem, the station at four divisional towns namely, Dhaka, sector continues to remain one of the most Khulna, Chittagong and Bogra. More may be disorganised areas of urban development in deployed elsewhere in the city and beyond - Bangladesh. An estimated 47000 tons of solid particularly if international donors maintain waste per day will be generated in urban areas their interest. Regulations aimed at reducing by 2025, which is almost three and half times the pollution from Dhaka?s 200,000-plus buses more than the current generation. and other mainly older vehicles are yet to have any substantive impact. A local NGO, Waste Concern, recently In a remarkably successful move, which has undertook a pilot project to demonstrate the resulted in much cleaner air in the capital, the benefits of collecting and treating Dhaka?s GoB has banned 2&3 stoke automobiles municipal waste (biodegradable). The findings (tempo?s). This prohibition, which has now confirmed that there is strong potential to been extended to Chittagong, will ultimately convert this waste, which is estimated at cover the whole country. Literally thousands of between 65-70% of the waste stream into 2& 3 strokes have now been converted to run compost-an organic fertiliser that improves the on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). ability of soil to retain water and resist soil erosion. Composting could therefore be an Conversion centres have sprung up in joint economically viable option of municipal waste venture with foreign partners and there are management disposal and an opportunity for now more than 130 CNG filling stations in the foreign investment - especially as the compost country. The GoB continues to promote CNG could be exported to India and other markets conversion of vehicles and installation of CNG as well as sold domestically. The Ministry of filling plant across the country and provides Environment & Forest (MOEF) is planning to incentives to attract more investment in this replicate this pilot in other parts of Dhaka and field. the other major cities with assistance from the UNDP, World Bank and the Swiss Government. Recovery and Recycling Recovery and recycling has not yet been Water & Waste Water Treatment established as a formal industry in Bangladesh. However, over 120,000 mainly poor and Industrial wastewater treatment is the most socially disadvantaged people?s livelihoods are advanced sub-sector, driven primarily not by believed to depend on ?waste? in Dhaka alone. regulation but by EU and North American Waste pickers scavenge higher and low value buyers? requirements for their suppliers to items, before passing through itinerant buyers comply with environmental performance and specialist dealers before reaching the re- criteria. These requirements have persuaded processing companies themselves. As a some key players in Bangladesh?s garments consequence, almost 15% of the inorganic sector to install effluent treatment plants, UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Environment Opportunities in Bangladesh. waste such as paper, glass, wood, plastic and Renewable Energy other packaging materials is ultimately recycled. Bangladesh has a plentiful supply of resource to generate biomass, wind, solar and- to a A lucrative segment of Bangladesh?s recycling lesser extent- hydro power. The GoB, already sector is ship-breaking. At present, 32 ship- undertaking small-scale works in partnership breaking yards operate on the beaches north of with NGOs, is trying to attract the attention of the port city of Chittagong, dismantle between international donors to further harness 60-80 large ocean-going ships every year. renewable sources of energy as it grapples with However, this industry?s practices fall well a serious power crisis. short of international environmental health and safety standards. The UNDP has approved a Comprising fuel - wood, charcoal, twigs and grant of almost $1.3bn to support Bangladesh?s leaves; agricultural residues such as plant ?Safe and Environmentally Friendly Ship residues, paddy husk and bran, jute sticks; and Recycling? project in 2006. animal dung such as cattle-dung and buffalo- dung, biomass is already used quite 45% of the plastic waste is recycled in the extensively in rural areas. Whilst the potential country resulting in savings of US$350 million to utilise solar is enormous, progress has been in the year 2005 by avoiding import of resin. limited so far- although the largest NGO, Plastic wastes such as used PET bottles are Grameen, is doing some impressive work in the exported from Bangladesh worth US$ 8 to 10 North of Bangladesh, apparently using photo- million. Plastic waste recycling involves voltaic panels supplied by BP Solar. Further to different process but cheap and readily studies of wind power in West Bengal, India, available labour force and locally fabricated the Government has concluded that only small- equipment makes the overall process cost scale wind turbines in coastal regions are effective. viable in Bangladesh. As a predominantly flat country, there is little scope to add further Since plastic is non-biodegradable it is hydro capacity to the 230MW being generated essential to promote recycling of plastic waste from the Kaptai Dam. and to reach 100% recycling rate leaving no amount of plastic waste to be land-filled. In the Bangladesh?s 710km of coastline (along the plastic recycling industry health, safety and Bay of Bengal) provides opportunities for the environment issues are not properly looked development of tidal, wave and oceanic after. This needs an urgent attention. thermal energy conversion facilities. Of these options, tidal is considered to be the most Bangladesh does not have a polymer industry. viable in the near term- the ?tidal wheel? Despite having a lot of natural gas, it is process is relatively cheap. deficient in the raw materials for polymer p Environmental Consultancy Services roduction. All polymers are imported. Therefore, there is a huge incentive to recycle waste plastics. This is the environmentally Projects funded by international donors offer sustainable path in the long run. Such a opportunities for foreign environmental scenario the best and sustainable approach is consultants in the Bangladesh market. to encourage recycling of plastic waste from Increasing pressure from foreign buyers of baseline to 100%. Bangladeshi products are also likely to create more scope for consultants to advise Bangladeshi exporting companies to gain accreditation to the ISO14000 series of standards. UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Environment Opportunities in Bangladesh. Characteristics of the market Legal and Regulatory Frame work The size of the environmental goods and services market in Bangladesh is very difficult The first major law that has been promulgated to determine, due to a lack of available for the specific purpose of protection of (reliable) data. However, the increasing environment and conservation of nature is the number of environmental projects and other Environmental Conservation Act (ECA) of 1995, activities in the sector indicate that the market which was followed by the Environmental is growing quite rapidly. Relevant non- Conservation Rules (ECR) of 1997. Besides, Government Organisations (NGOs) claim that there are around two hundred laws in the GoB?s statistics indicate that the value of Bangladesh which have, in some cases, direct environmental equipment imported into the relevance to environment. In most of the country is increasing at a good pace. cases, the primary objective of these laws does not concern natural resource management or Demand in the market is currently focused addressing environmental pollution directly; p these laws can, however, be invoked very rimarily on industrial and municipal waste much to cover various sectoral aspects of the water (including sewage) treatment/disposal, environment that embrace pesticides use, land air pollution control, municipal solid waste use, human health, urban facilities etc. treatment/disposal (there is clear interest in new waste to energy projects), environmental monitoring and instrumentation, consultancy and training. As a Least Developed Country (LDC), Bangladesh does not tend to pay for high-end environmental technologies. The market is very price-sensitive. In the equipment supply segment, western companies are facing increasing competition from lower-cost from Korea, China, India and Taiwanese manufacturers. Where international donors are supporting development projects, more sophisticated solutions may be procured. UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Environment Opportunities in Bangladesh. UKTI contacts Next steps - How UKTI can help Syeda Suraya Jahan Trade & Investment Officer British companies wishing to develop their British High Commission business in the Bangladesh market are UN Road, Baridhara advised to undertake as much market research Dhaka-1212 and planning as possible in the UK. UKTI?s Tel: +88-02-8822705-9, Ext: 2267# team in Bangladesh with its wide local Email: Suraya.jahan@fco.gov.uk knowledge and experience can provide a range www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk of services to British-based companies wishing to grow their business in global markets. This can include: ? Provision of market information ? Validated lists of agents/distributors ? Key market players or potential customers in the Chinese market ? Establishment of interest of such contacts in working with you ? Arranging appointments ? Organise seminars or other events for you to meet contacts and promote your company in the Chinese market This work is available via our Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) a chargeable service which assists British-based companies wishing to enter or expand their business in overseas markets. To find out more about commissioning this work, or accessing other UKTI services and specialist advice, please visit the UKTI website to find contact details for your local UKTI office. Whereas every effort has been made to ensure that the information given in this document is accurate, neither UK Trade & Investment nor its parent Departments (the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office), accept liability for any errors, omissions or misleading statements, and no warranty is given or responsibility accepted as to the standing of any individual, firm, company or other organisation mentioned. Published 2011 by UK Trade & Investment. Crown Copyright © Published 2011 by UK Trade & Investment. ©Crown Copyright 2011 You may reuse this information (not including logos, images and case studies) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. To view this licence, visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/ or write to the Information Policy Team, The National Archives, Kew, London TW9 4DU, or email: psi@nationalarchives.gsi.gov.uk This publication is also available from our website at www.ukti.gov.uk or for more information please telephone +44 (0)20 7215 8000. UK Trade & Investment Sector briefing: Environment Opportunities in Bangladesh.
Posted: 21 August 2011, last updated 21 August 2011

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