25 Oct 2022, 19:18

Govt is taking steps to check lead pollution: minister


DHAKA, Oct 25, 2022 (BSS) - Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin today said the government is taking initiatives to protect people from lead pollution.

"The Department of Environment (DoE) frequently conducts drives against illegal battery manufacturing and recycling activities. However, only enforcement may not bring the desired results rather we need massive awareness," he told a seminar.

The seminar titled 'Lead poisoning in Bangladesh: Research Evidence for Urgent Action' was held at Sonargaon Hotel in the capital, organised by the Directorate General of Health Service and UNICEF.

Speaking as the chief guest, Shahab Uddin said people should know that 'Lead' is a silent killer as it affects almost all body parts.

He said the neurological toxicity of lead is inflicting permanent and devastating damage to young children's body and brain development.

The environment minister urged media, civil society, NGOs to play an important role in making people aware of adverse effects of lead pollution.

He said lead free fuel is being used in vehicles due to initiatives taken by the government.

The government has incorporated the lead emission standard for industrial discharges in the Environmental Conservation Rules, 1997, he said.

About 85 percent of the total global lead use is found at battery factories while lead use in paints and spices is also a great concern, Shahab Uddin said.

He said the government first issued an SRO in 2006 and again in 2021, emphasising the environmental clearance for safe disposal of lead acid battery, environmentally sound recycling, and duties and responsibilities of battery breakers, distributors, dealers and importers.

Director General of National Consumer Rights Protection Directorate AHM Safikuzzaman, Additional Secretary of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Nilufar Nazneen, Executive Director of ICDDR,B Dr Shams El Arifin and UNICEF Bangladesh Representative Sheldon Yate spoke at the seminar with Director of Health Department Dr Aminul Islam in the chair.

Representatives of various ministries, departments, NGOs and development partners were present.