Bangladesh Shows Commitment to Tackling Textile Industry Pollution

Bangladesh’s textile and apparel industry represents over 83% of the country’s total exports and more than 45% of employment, making it not only the largest contributor to the country’s export earnings, but also the largest source of employment. However, as the textile and apparel industry in Bangladesh continues to boom, the pollution caused by textile and apparel manufacturing also becomes increasingly serious.

 

Water pollution is currently the number one challenge faced by the fast-growing textile and apparel industry in Bangladesh. According to the research from the Natural Resources Defences Council, industrial pollution accounts for 60% of pollution in the Dhaka watershed, and the textile industry is the second largest contributor. Textile manufacturing in the country has a huge environmental impact, generating as much as 300 metric tons of wastewater per ton of fabric, with a host of harmful chemicals.

 

Another study conducted by the Partnership for Cleaner Textile (PaCT) shows that 719 washing, dyeing and finishing factories in Bangladesh discharge wastewater to rivers in its capital city, Dhaka. Despite being surrounded by four rivers, Dhaka’s water supply to its 18 million residents is being threatened by the extremely high levels of pollution.

 

PaCT is an industrial initiative launched by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, to facilitate eco-friendly textile production since 2013. So far, PaCT has

  • Saved 18.4 billion liters of fresh water per year;
  • Developed environmentally safe sourcing guidelines for global brands;
  • Provided guidance to 215 textile factories in Bangladesh on how to implement cleaner production;
  • Conducted the first ever feasibility study for a central effluent treatment plant in the Konabari cluster;
  • Avoided wastewater to the tune of 15.9 liters per year;
  • Generated investments of $31 million;
  • Generated $12.4 million/year in factory savings resulting from resource efficiency

 

In order to further tackle the water pollution caused by Bangladesh’s textile and apparel industry, PaCT has allocated $200 million by the Bangladesh Bank for a Green Transformation Fund, which gives textile and apparel manufacturers incentives for implementing environmentally-friendly processes and technologies.

 

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