Wednesday, May 22, 2019 | ePaper

Green industrialization is the need of time

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Md. Atikur Rahman :
In case of environment risk, Bangladesh has already been in disaster situation. And if the current trend continues, the situation would be miserable in the near future. So, Bangladesh must strengthen the supervision of environmental protection. If the situation goes out of control, it would need huge money to recover it, and Bangladesh doesn't have the capability to invest.
By 2050, two-thirds of the world's population will live in the cities. With the increase in the number of urban people, industrial demand will be increased. There is no alternative to green technology transfer. Besides, planned urbanization and green industrialization are also be needed to face this enormous population.
Bangladesh has taken various initiatives in this regard. In the light of the action plan, it was presented at the Paris Climate Conference.  Presently, Bangladesh is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5% in the energy and power, transport and industrial sectors. Solar panels have already been set up in 5 million homes for energy saving and getting renewable energy. With the introduction of cleaner production system, green cells are being established in all industries under EPZs.
To make the country environment-friendly, the industrialists and other taxpayers will have to pay more. So that it can be possible to take necessary steps to prevent environmental pollution with this extra money. It will not possible to ensure waste management and other services for green industrialization with current revenue income. We have a shortage of land. For this reason the government is constructing the economic zones to ensure the services of green industrialization. Green industrialization has been given priority for sustainable development in the industrial policy that has been approved. The government will provide various incentives to establish green industries. In the interest of green industrialization, the transfer of leather factory to Savar has been made compulsory.
For the establishment of a green plant, loan of 9 percent interest from banks are available. Since the cost of building green factories is high, the interest rate of this loan will be reduced. The FBCCI has demanded not to impose any duty for import of capital machineries by the environment-friendly green industries. The organization has also demanded to arrange bank loan with two percent interest for environment-friendly industrialization. Apart from this, it has advised to form a Green Development Fund.
The country's economy is now being developed with high levels of adversity. This means the local industry, which is growing in terms of manufacturing risk, has the rank of environmental risk.  Bangladesh Bank had called for green banking and took several effective measures in this regard. With the formula of green banking, I propose to adopt a wide-range of green industrialization program in the country, whose main focus is to save the environment and to promote industrialization.
If any industries are set up, we'll have to make sure that it will not be harmful to the environment or it will be helpful to the contamination. The list of environment friendly industries can be made by BSCIC, the Investment Board, the Department of Environment and other related organizations. Accordingly, it can be sent to the commercial banks and other financial institutions through the Bangladesh Bank for financial assistance on priority basis. Again, there are fears of environmental pollution or environmental degradation under the same venture; so another list can be made by the National Board of Revenue to impose higher tax on such industries.
In fact, there is no alternative to private sector development for the country's industrialization. The speed of industrialization of the country should be as fast as the private sector. The government has taken various steps to encourage private sector and entrepreneurs. In SME sector, entrepreneurs are given loans at a very low interest. Their plots are given on priority basis. We know, President's Industrial Development Award is a part of their encouragement.
According to the sustainable development target, future industries will be environment friendly. Entrepreneurs will have to invest in establishing industries by ensuring environmental protection. That's why not only the policy support, the government will also have to increase financial support. There should be a variety of facilities in the environment-friendly green industry budget. To encourage awareness of environment and environmental awareness of those industries, which are extremely sensitive for environmental pollution, and to create environment awareness, environmental protection surcharges would be imposed only at 1% on all products produced by the industry.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Bangladesh has now 67 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green factories certified by USGBC. Among them 13 are LEED Platinum rated while more than 280 factories are registered with USGBC for LEED certification. Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association in association with USGBC and GBCI had launched 'LEED Green Factory Award'. A number of best green building factories of Bangladesh have already been honored with 'LEED Green Factory Award' to recognize their efforts in sustainability by achieving LEED Platinum certification.
According to BGMEA, Bangladesh has the greenest RMG factories in the world; Indonesia is the second largest with 40 green factories followed by India with 30 and Sri Lanka with 10. Now, Bangladesh has the highest number of green factories in the apparel sector which scored 97 out of 110. Other industries in the country should give more focus on green industrialization for environmentally sustainable industry.
On the other hand, due to unplanned industrialization, China's environment and public health are facing serious disasters today. To tackle the situation, China has imposed taxes on carbon emissions in different industries. Also, due to noise pollution, extra tariff will be calculated. The world's second biggest economy China has repeatedly failed to reduce air pollution. It is also facing difficulties to protect crops, save pure water and prevent water pollution.
Four thousand people die every day due to air pollution in China. Due to environmental pollution, 17,000 industrial clusters have been closed in China recently. Many people believe that strict action should be taken to impose customs duty on China to prevent access of industrial pollution in our country. The government, the ministries and departments concerned will have to take quick initiative in this regard. As well as attractive advertisements in the foreign media, and green industrialization program should be widely publicized in the international forums so that consumers show interest in importing goods from the environmentally friendly 'green industry' of Bangladesh.
 'Green industrialization' is no longer just a slogan or call; it is now an inevitable attachment to our existence. It is not only significant from the point of view of economic development; it is also important to face the possible risks of biodiversity in the near future and the possible risk of climate change.
Lastly, to make Bangladesh a middle income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041, it is necessary to focus more on industrial growth. But the art should be planned and environmentally friendly. No agricultural land can be destroyed for the industry. The forest cannot be ruined. Biodiversity cannot be hampered. The energy used in the industry must be environmentally friendly.

(Md. Atikur Rahman, Columnist & Head PRO at BUFT, atik@buft.edu.bd)

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