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RMG makers urged to stop use of harmful chemicals
May '09
Mr. Abdus Salam Murshedi, president BGMEA
Mr. Abdus Salam Murshedi, president BGMEA
Garment manufacturers in the country must stop the use of carbon tetrachloride in production to safeguard international markets for their goods, as its use will be banned from the world soon, speakers said at a training workshop in Dhaka.

Speakers said the organic compound is a solvent widely used by garment factories in Bangladesh as a 'spot cleaner'. As per the Montreal Protocol 1987, the import and use of carbon tetrachloride will be banned worldwide by January 2010, as it is ozone depleting and a green house gas.

The training workshop was organised by the Department of Environment (DoE) in cooperation with Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), as part of the 'National ODS (Ozone Depleting Substances) Phase-out Plan' supported by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), at BGMEA in the capital.

The workshop aimed at finding out a cost effective alternative to carbon tetrachloride and sensitising stakeholders about the issue. Garment factory owners and DoE officials participated in the programme. Shirin Kamal Sayeed, assistant country director of UNDP, said although the use of this solvent in Bangladesh is limited, the garment industry might be affected in a different way.

Shirin explained that foreign buyers might place a special embargo after 2010 on countries that use the chemical, which will hurt the export-oriented industry. To protect the export market, owners have to stop its use, she said. There are around 4,000 garment factories in Bangladesh. The industry exports apparels worth about $10 billion to many countries around the world. Around 1 tonnes of carbon tetrachloride is used every year by these industries. The solvent also has adverse health effects.

Md Billal Hossain, acting director general of DoE, said use of carbon tetrachloride would gradually be phased out from Bangladesh, a signatory to the Montreal Protocol. Abdus Salam Murshedi, president of BGMEA, said the worldwide production of carbon tetrachloride is also being reduced, so it will not be available for use in future. Garment factories in Bangladesh must find an alternative agent within this short time, he said. He called for help from the government to address the challenge. Md Shahjahan, director (technical) of DoE, Dr Sham Prashad, adviser to UNDP, also spoke.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA)

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