Policies regarding effluent treatment

Industriesin Bangladesh do seriously need to comply with the regulation that they must set up effluent treatment plants (ETPs) for treating waste matters created during production processes. Unregulated discharge of the industrial effluents is contaminating waters of rivers and aquatic life in them and similarly spoiling underground water aquifers from seepage through soil.
Specially , the rivers that flow through and past Dhaka city are in extremely burdened conditions from the carefree discharge of all forms of untreated effluents in them. The urgency of restoring the water quality of these rivers is dictated by the fact that surface waters from the rivers are being widely used for supplying in the city for household uses. Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority (DWASA) on their part pointed to the unchecked pollution of the rivers from untreated discharge of effluents– both human excrements and industrial wastes — that make the tasks of purification extremely difficult these days.
However, there are also other issues to be taken into consideration. Industries suddenly forced into closing down for non compliance will be a very counterproductive development from the turning off of their contribution to the national economy and creation of large redundancies for workers. The benefits of stoppage of discharge of effluents may be offset by the higher negative costs of lost production and jobs. Therefore, government has to adopt a policy that meets both the medium and longer term needs of getting the ETPs established without causing industries to shut down in the process. The essential planks of such a policy should be one of putting pressures on varying degrees for the sake of fairplay.
For example, the textile industries are struggling hard to meet their compliance targets and these may be given some more time and persuaded and handled with patience while the ones that paid no heed to compliance whatsoever such as the tannery operators, they should be arm twisted to show fastest evidence of working towards compliance.
Asking these industries to build ETPs all on a sudden can impose crushing financial burden on them when successive governments have been so careless in making them uncaring polluters. Therefore, government has a responsibility to them and should consider moblising a special fund from which industries can borrow at nominal rates for the establishment of ETPs. The banks should be encouraged to draw up such borrowing schemes to help the industries to spend on ETPs.


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