NGO News Report :: Mercury exposure are becoming a serious health and environmental risks in Bangladesh. Phase-out mercury from production to use are demanded in a workshop organized by Environment and Social Development organization-ESDO. Under the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Global Mercury Partnership, ESDO is going to implement a project on “Reduction of demand for mercury in mercury containing products in Bangladesh”, the formal inception of the project was held Thursday in a conference center at Dhanmondi in Dhaka.
The main objectives of the project are to create public awareness, as well as strengthening capacities to replace mercury-added products and ensure the environmentally sound management of end-of-life mercury-added products in Bangladesh. Dr. Abu Jafor Mahmood, Mercury Researcher and Retired professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Dhaka shared some information about how this mercury released into the environment.
He said, “It is notable that the products and equipment contained mercury or mercury compound have been frequently used in Bangladesh but most of the consumers are unknown about the fact. The equipment containing mercury and mercury compound have been imported into Bangladesh since long, which resulted into mercury release in the environment after disposal of such equipment”.
Workshop was chaired by Syed Marghub Murshed, Former Secretary, Gov. of Bangladesh and Chairperson of ESDO. He highlighted the fact that identification of mercury-added product and categorizing them is of great concern at the national level.
It is important to investigate their (mercury’s) trade and waste management, and identify opportunities for substitution by mercury-free alternatives. Mr. Murshed describing the notion of ESDO mercury-free initiatives and said that, ESDO has decided to run the project in order to facilitate such inventories of mercury added products and identify the emission sources.
He urged the relevant stakeholders to extend their possible support to implement the project successfully. To present the overview of the project UNEP Mercury Expert and ESDO Secretary General Dr. Shahriar Hossain said, this project specifically focus on Identify mercury-added product categories of concern at the national level, investigate their trade and waste management, and identify opportunities for substitution by mercury-free alternatives.
He informed that the project aimed to assist the government to understand opportunities to control the import of mercury-added products and to promote mercury-free alternatives in accordance with the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
One of the major objective of this project is to create awareness on the hazards and risks of mercury among decision makers, relevant stakeholders, and the general public, in particular women, he added. Amongst others Mr. Mahmood Hasan Khan, Director (AQM), Department of Environment, Dr. Mohidus Samad Khan, Assistant Prof. Department of Chemical Engineering, BUET, Dr. Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah, Proffessor, Department of Public Administration, University of Dhaka, Khaleda Ahsan, Chief Engineer (add charge), DPHE took part on the discussion.
Over 80 professionals, experts and government from MoH&FW, MoEF, MoCom, MoI, DoE, DAE, DU, JU, BUET, BCSIR, City Corporation, BSTI, BDS, BARC, BPDB, paediatrics, electronic, jewellery, cosmetic, battery industries, Manufacturers Association, media participated in the inception workshop.