Bangladesh has begun to address broad pollution and health issues, particularly around air pollution and access to safe water. It was agreed by the Bangladesh Department of Environment that the HPAP there should focus on neglected issues, particularly chemicals.
Earlier activities in preparation for the HPAP increased attention to the informal recycling of used lead-acid batteries in the country, which is a large and growing challenge and a significant contributor to Bangladesh’s environmental burden of disease. Consequently, the Bangladesh Department of Environment established in 2018 a National Lead-Acid Battery Committee to address this challenge, and lead-acid battery recycling was highlighted as a priority issue in the World Bank’s Country Environmental Analysis.
A chemicals-focused HPAP is being finalized with the Government, specifically as a basis for discussion with the World Bank administered “Pollution Management and Environment Health (PMEH)” Trust Fund. The HPAP will potentially influence both the PMEH program in Bangladesh and how the WB and other development partners design future technical and financial assistance programs related to pollution.
In July 2021, a workshop on “Advancing a Lead Pollution and Health Roadmap for Bangladesh” was organized by Pure Earth Bangladesh and GAHP in coordination with the Department of Environment (DoE), garnering media attention.
The aim of the workshop was to build a common understanding of lead exposure from all sources in Bangladesh and develop a comprehensive set of goals and strategies to address priority lead exposure sources. This convening of stakeholders lay the groundwork for a unified approach to lead exposure reduction. Attendees included representatives from different government agencies, national and international civil society organizations, research and academic institutions, and development agencies.