Coca-Cola remains the top single-use plastic polluter in Bangladesh

| Updated:
October 17, 2022 3:59:54 PM

Global soft drink brand Coca-Cola once again became the country’s top single-use plastic polluter for the fifth consecutive time, with 20.78% of total waste collected under the 2022 Brand Audit.

The Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO) conducted the 2022 brand audit and presented the disturbing findings on Monday during a virtual press conference in Dhaka.

ESDO conducted the survey in three different cities, including Dhaka, Khulna and Chittagong, with the support of over 250 volunteers.

About 30,862 pieces of plastic waste were collected by the volunteers in three cities with a weight of 166.1877 kg. After collection, the waste was sorted and the marks were recorded in the MSDS, the organization said.

The audit file identified 38 large local companies and 14 international companies producing nearly 220 product brands in total. The study identified specific brands and their corresponding manufacturers whose items were found in the most abundant quantities.

The rest of the waste collected bears the name of Pepsico (15.60%), the Pran-RFL group (9.63%), followed by Unilever (6.5%), the Partex group (5.08%), Akij Group (3.63%), Nestlé (5.1%), Bombay Sweets limited (3.07%) and other multinational and local companies.

Brands include – Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mum, Pran, Zaa and Zee, Alooz, Matador Orbit, Bashundhara tissue (package), Fresh Tissue (package), Lexus, Center Fruit, Fruit Fun, Pulse, Ruchi, Sunsilk, Center Fruit, Mom, Kinley, etc.

The total list is dominated mainly by The Coca-Cola Company, Pran-RFL Group, PepsiCo, Partex Group, Akij Food & Beverage Limited and Unilever, according to ESDO.

Former ESDO Secretary and President Syed Marghub Murshed chaired the event and alleged that these companies have flooded our market with non-recyclable single-use items and tiny multi-layered sachets or packets.

“Single-use plastic has disastrous consequences not only for the environment but also for human health. Companies must take responsibility for the plastic pollution they cause,” he added.

ESDO’s Senior Technical Adviser and former Chairman of the Department of Chemistry at Jahangirnagar University said that “the government is already working seriously on the plastics crisis and through the upcoming plastics treaty; we hope to find a solution to such dangerous pollution.

ESDO Executive Director Siddika Sultana said more than 4,000 chemicals potentially present in plastic packaging or used in their manufacture have been identified. At least 148 of these chemicals have been identified as hazardous to human health and/or the environment.

“And these can cause endocrine disruption, which can lead to cancers, birth defects, immune system disorders and developmental problems in children. She called on the government to highlight this point as a matter of urgency,” she added.

ESDO General Secretary Shahriar Hossain said Bangladesh was the first country to ban polythene bags.

“So, of course, we don’t want to be left behind in the event of a decision on the treaty. We need to start preparing now to completely ban single-use plastic from our country and our lives,” he urged.

The Brand Audit tool is developed by the global Break Free from Plastic (BFFP) movement.

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