Old waste treatment machines should be replaced with those of European standard to make the Tannery Industrial Estate in Savar environmentally friendly, experts have suggested.
The Central Waste Treatment Plant (CETP) here is not functioning properly as the machines are not working properly. For this, they have to be replaced with new ones, they also said at the event titled "Green Transformation of Leather and Allied Industries towards Compliance: Bangladesh Perspective" on Monday.
Professor Mohammad Mizanur Rahman, Director, Institute of Leather Engineering and Technology, Dhaka University, presented the keynote paper. Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun joined the webinar virtually.
Mizanur Rahman said the capacity of the Savar plant is 91 lakh cubic metres per year. If all the tanneries there run at full capacity, there will be 82 lakh cubic metres of liquid waste per year.
"If our machines were functional, we would be able to treat all the liquid waste from the tannery with this capacity. But the machines are not functioning properly."
He suggested disposing of chemical-contaminated wastewater to CETP after disposing of it at Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP).
A tannery can obtain 150 to 250 kg of finished leather and 750 to 850 kg solid waste after processing 1,000 kg of raw hides, Professor Mizanur mentioned in his presentation.
He suggested setting up a separate project for solid waste management, alongside the installation of new machines.
Bio-fuels, bio-fertilisers can be made by separating skin fat. The total solid waste will become fertiliser. In this case, there will be no pollution of the environment, he opined.
Professor Mizanur Rahman said, "If implemented properly, this will result in an eco-friendly leather industry. We will get certificates from the Leather Working Group (LWG), a global platform. This will increase the export of leather products."
The industries minister said, "We are learning through work. We want to learn from the mistakes we have made to build a leather industry city in Savar. We are working to build an eco-friendly leather industry."
State Minister for Industries Kamal Ahmed Majumder was the special guest in the event with Industries ministry secretary Zakia Sultana in the chair. Shahin Ahmed, President of Bangladesh Tanners Association-BTA, connected online.
In 2003, the government had taken the initiative to build the BSCIC Tannery Industrial Estate on 200 acres of land in Savar by shifting all tanneries from Hazaribagh in the capital in order to prevent environmental pollution. The work of this eco-friendly project was supposed to be done in three years but not completed in 18 years.