Speakers at a discussion here on Monday said adopting circular economy principles can help address overall climate crisis, global inequality and alleviate poverty.
They came up with the observation at a session titled 'Circular Economy: Addressing Poverty and Exclusion for Climate Justice' as part of the 6th Gobeshona Conference.
ActionAid Bangladesh hosted the panel discussion during the conference jointly organised by International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) and International University of Bangladesh (IUB) at IUB campus.
The industrial revolution has spurred massive development and industrial growth but at the cost of our planet and its environment, said Farah Kabir, the Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh while moderating the session.
In circular economy process, goods are turned into resources at the end of their service life for others minimizing waste.
Circular economy can redefine economic growth focusing on societal benefits helping to create new green industries and jobs.
It reduces environmental degradation of the environment, protect biodiversity and increase resilience to the physical effects of climate change, she said while presenting the key note.
Farah Kabir said ActionAid Bangladesh has been one of the forerunners in Bangladesh working on climate justice with focus to address inequality, poverty and exclusion.
She said ActionAid Bangladesh has been demanding for an alternative development model for over decades as well as demonstrating ways to incorporate circularity within its programme and operations.
Dr Saleemul Haque, Director of ICCCAD, mentioned circular economy as solution to both climate and wastage problem.
He said, the future economy cannot sustain with producing industrial waste in such amount.
“We have to reengineer the economic system. Specially, our garment industry is a big opportunity for us. If we can promote and ensure circular economy minimizing pollution and waste, it will benefit our environment, our life as well as bringing reputation to our products in the global market”, he said.
Asif Ibrahim, Director of BGMEA, said the RMG sector has already taken initiatives and most of the big brands, which are the buyers of Bangladesh, have taken the initiatives to promote circular economy and suppliers in Bangladesh have also started to align themselves with the idea.
“Yet, much of the production in the entire manufacture industry, including garments sector, is operation in linear economy producing waste and pollution,” he said adding that time has come for everybody to wake up and manufacturers need to take initiatives to bring the change.
John Warburton, Senior Environment Adviser of DFID Bangladesh said circular economy in Bangladesh is not still happening to a large extent.
Bangladesh government needs to take initiative to promote circular economy. Policy and regulations need to be enforced, he added.
He also emphasised on waste management claiming that poor waste management leads risk to not only environment but to health and other areas as well.
The speakers in the discussion called for promoting greater awareness and consumer behaviour change to promote and practice circular economy.
S M Monzurul Hannan Khan, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, spoke as the chief guestat the inaugural session of the conference in the morning.
He said Bangladesh being a vulnerable country, is trying to enhance resilience through its policy and action.
“We are preparing the 8th national five-year plan and we are trying to address the climate change issues in our policy and planning,”said the additional secretary mentioning that researches can play vital role to strengthen the plan.
He also urged the development partners to work with the government in order to address the climate change impact.
Robert Chatterton Dickson, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, said every day the headlines are reminding them that something is going wrong.
He said it is time to mobilize global opinion and global citizens to act on preventing climate crisis.
Ban Ki Moon, Co-Chair of Gobal Commission of Adaptation (GCA) shared a video message where he expressed his concern about the changing climate and urged everyone to take necessary actions.
“Revolution is required in three areas- understanding, planning and finance. Bangladesh has shown how preparing community can reduce disaster risk and loss. The country has shown its leadership in promoting locally led action,” he said in his message.