Tuesday, March 19, 2019 | ePaper

Administrative pressure needed to stop storing chemicals in Old Dhaka

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RIDING on rising garment export, Bangladesh's textile chemicals market is forecasted to grow to $1.38 billion by 2024 from $864 million last year registering an 8 percent compounded annual growth rate. Moreover, export duty exemptions, favourable policies and availability of labour at lower wages are attracting foreign investors towards Bangladesh's textile sector, which in turn is catalysing the demand for textile chemicals. Textile colorants dominate the markets for textile chemicals owing to their properties of imparting aesthetic appearance and value to the finished textile products.
Dhaka is the largest demand-generating region for textile chemicals in Bangladesh. The more the garment manufacturers purchase the local fabrics, the more chemicals are sold for washing and dyeing purposes. Another important reason for the growth in chemical consumption is the rise of the denim industry in Bangladesh. Usually, denim fabrics require more chemicals for washing and dyeing compared to that needed by other fabrics.
Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs) in the textile sector also require hundreds of tonnes of a wide variety of chemicals all the year round. It is now mandatory to set up ETPs in textile units for the protection of the ecosystem and maintain environmental balance. It is estimated that textile chemical sales in local markets has been increasing by nearly 25 percent year-on-year as export and domestic sale of apparel items have been increasing.
While we can't stop the demand side, we should be able to ensure that suppliers have legitimate warehouses located well outside of city limits where population densities are statistically insignificant. This would lead to a reduced probability of accidents which would lead to huge loss of lives. While no one can prevent accidents from occurring, accidents which occur at remote areas are much less likely statistically to lead to a loss of lives.
Tremendous administrative pressure has to be put on these chemical traders to ensure that they don't continue their ages-old practice of storing inflammables at the Old Dhaka. With the import of such chemical almost doubling every 6-7 years the volumes which will be brought in will be tremendous and will keep on increasing every year. Chemicals can't be allowed to play havoc with the lives of Old Dhaka residents.

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