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National Chemical Management Guideline (NCMG) to help sustainable growth of T&A sector in Bangladesh

We strongly believe, a National Chemical Management Guideline (NCMG) will help sustainable growth of the textile and garments (T&A) sector in Bangladesh. Starting in the early ’80s of the last century, the RMG sub-sector has seen phenomenal growth in the last four decades.

Although factories in the textile sub-sector existed even before the independence of Bangladesh, this sub-sector also has seen significant growth simultaneously with the growth of the RMG sub-sector. Globally T&A sector is contributing to environmental degradation to a large extent.

Figure: Werner Lange, Cluster Coordinator – Textile, GIZ Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh also the situation is not any different. Despite the growth of the T&A sector in the country during the last four decades, no chemical management guideline for the T&A sector was formulated so far. Very recently the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has taken initiative to develop an NCMG for the T&A sector in Bangladesh. German Development Cooperation (GIZ) is proud to be a partner of MoC in developing the NCMG.

In absence of any NCMG, currently, export-oriented T&A factories follow buyer’s/retailer’s code of conduct (CoC) in respect of the management of chemicals in their factories. Sometimes factories dealing with more than one buyer/retailer face problems in chemical management in their factories because of conflicting code of conduct of different buyers/retailers. Arguably, large factories can cope with this situation, but for smaller factories, it creates significant difficulty. Moreover, a country should have its own guideline and regulation and not be looking forward to brands and retailers to control the pollution on their behalf.

Most importantly, while export oriented textile factories are large user of chemical in Bangladesh, they are not the only sector who are using chemicals. While international standards plays a big role in managing the pollution and chemical in export oriented factory, we believe NCMG will play a pivotal role in managing chemicals in both export and domestic market textile producer. Furthermore, the intention we received so far from the ministry is to update the document on a regular interval keeping up with changes and development in the international standards. This should also help international standards, management system and control measures such as ZDHC, Higg etc. to strengthen their activities in Bangladesh, with support of this NCMG document.

Finally, just developing a NCMG is not going to be enough. It must be owned by the relevant authorities. Relevant people working in the factories (e.g. Chemical Related Person) needs to be trained on the NCMG. Authorities are required to ensure enforcement of the NCMG in T&A factories to get the full benefit from such a guideline.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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