DHAKA, BANGLADESH (July 26, 7 a.m. ET) — Bangladesh could emerge as a global player in plastic industry by hiking its turnover to $2 billion by 2015 and $4 billion by 2020 cited a case study on Bangladesh's plastic sector conducted by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) of the United Nations.
The report says the South East Asian country has to address three issues on priority basis mainly infrastructural support, waste management &recycling facility, and skills development. The report launched recently in the Capital Dhaka, suggested the Bangladesh government to set up a separate economic zone for the plastic industry offering facilities like uninterrupted power to the factories.
Plastic-based products currently represent a sizeable sub-sector in the chemical industry in Bangladesh. The report said the current market size of plastic products is around $1 billion with majority $714 million in the domestic market and the rest in the global market. The plastic sector has around 3,000 manufacturing units that offer jobs to more than 2 million people directly and indirectly. The report highlights that Bangladesh is one of the lowest plastics consuming countries.
“Per capita consumption of plastics and plastics-based products in Bangladesh is estimated at two kg annually against the global average at 80 kg,” cites the report.
This indicates that such consumption in Bangladesh is expected to rise as the economy develops.
Interestingly, plastic recycling has also developed into a sizeable component of the plastic industry with major recycling centers operating in and around Dhaka, according to the UN report. Availability of river water and low transportation costs have made the recycling units in and around Dhaka economically attractive. About 300 small units are recycling around 138 metric tons of plastic wastes a day. The plastic industry logs more than 10 percent of their earnings from the garment sector. Bangladesh is one of the biggest garment exporters to the world.
The UN report said plastic products are used in different purposes such as packaging, construction, pharmaceutical and consumer products. Garbage bags, toothbrushes, artificial flowers, ballpoint pens, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipes, polythene sheets, electric switches and computer accessories also use plastic products. Although the plastic industry in Bangladesh has made remarkable progress over the years, it still lacks a well-designed approach for achieving long-term and sustainable growth, said the report. It also suggested the government ensure policy consistency and policy direction.