Bangladesh is not a top contender for chemical companies, but its chemical industry has suffered from a combination of bad weather and lack of investment, according to a report released on Tuesday.
The report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank and a World Economic Forum (WEF) report showed that Bangladesh is ranked just 23rd out of 180 countries in terms of its ability to absorb chemical waste and to use it in its own industries.
“The chemical sector in Bangladesh suffers from poor infrastructure and infrastructure that does not function,” said Dr. Mohammad Akhter, an expert in waste management and management of chemical waste at the University of California, San Diego, who chaired the WEF report.
“There are no chemical plants to operate and it has been difficult for the industry to compete on a national level.
There is not much investment, not enough capacity and no incentive to do business in Bangladesh,” he said.
The Bangladesh government had said it would invest $1 billion to increase the capacity of the chemical industry.
The WEF said in its report that the country had an annual capacity of more than 1 million tonnes of chemical wastes, and that it was unable to process any more because of the weather.
Bangladesh’s chemical industry was built on the back of the country’s large, inefficient, and dirty coal-fired power plants that were designed to produce electricity by burning coal.
The coal power plants had been shut down after the 2011 riots.
“While the government has announced it is building a new coal power plant, it has yet to start working on the infrastructure and to start providing the infrastructure for it,” said Akhver, who is also the director of the World Economic Summit on Sustainable Development.
“This is a situation that has been growing over the past two decades,” said Jashikant Dutta, a former director of Bangladesh’s Atomic Energy Authority (AEO), which is responsible for building the countrys chemical plants.
“AEO has a lot of responsibility in terms, of the safety of the power plants and the health of the workers who work at the plants,” he told Al Jazeera.
“It is a government agency that has not been able to get the funds to do that.”
The WEFs report also highlighted the lack of progress made in upgrading the country to become a clean-energy country, particularly in the field of nuclear power.
Bangladesh, which has the world’s worst per-capita carbon dioxide emissions per capita, ranks 27th out of the 180 countries on the WEFs environmental index, behind only South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Afghanistan.
“Bangladesh has a problem of not meeting its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Chemical Weapons (COPCW) and has not made significant progress in addressing the issue,” the report said.
It added that the government should also work to “ensure that the industry that employs about 2.3 million people, which is about 60 percent of the population, can operate at a level of safety and security in order to support the livelihoods of the industry.”
In addition, the report highlighted a lack of clean-up of chemical sites and the lack a plan to deal with contamination, as well as the lack and lack-of infrastructure to handle and dispose of chemical contamination, including groundwater.
“No one has a clue what is happening with the waste management in Bangladesh, and there is a lack on the part of the government to take responsibility for cleaning up the sites and dealing with contamination,” Duttsaid.
“Even the water is not safe, it is very contaminated.
It is a problem,” said Dutty.
“We need a solution.
We need a plan.
We have to do something to clean up the country.”
– Reuters –