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DHAKA – New research suggests the amount of wastewater generated by Bangladesh’s ready-made-garment industry could be set to rise more than 50 per cent by 2021. The projections are based on industry forecasts which suggest Bangladesh’s textile exports could increase from US$28bn now to US50bn by 2021 – with potentially devastating consequences for the environment.

The researchers point out that in 2016, textile industries in Bangladesh produced about 1.80 million metric tons of fabrics, generating around 217 million m3 of wastewater. They estimate that by 2021, textile industries in Bangladesh will produce about 2.91 million metric tons of fabrics generating around 349 million m3 of wastewater.

Bangladesh’s garment export industry consumes extremely high volumes of water per unit fabric for processing, which contributes to the depletion of ground water levels at up to 2-3 metres per year according to local estimates.

The industry is also highly polluting. More than 200 rivers are currently being directly and indirectly affected by untreated effluent from factories and industries. Untreated textile effluent can contaminate groundwater and waterbodies, reduce dissolved oxygen in water and affect aquatic ecosystems which may indirectly cause climate change.

The paper says: “Improving conventional technology, adopting cleaner production (CP) options, the reusing and recycling of treated water may reduce water consumption, effluent volume and water stresses, and may help preserving aquatic ecosystems.

“However, additional investments, lack of technological knowhow, and awareness are factors limiting the adoption of cleaner production options. In order to take effective measures for future improvement it is important to develop a nationwide wastewater impact tracking system.”

Full paper available here


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