- DoE stopped issuance, renewal of clearance certificates due to pollution and non-compliance by tanneries
- Expired licenses of 14 tanneries renewed in September
- Eight more tanneries' certificate renewal in the process
- Environmental clearances necessary for renewal of trade, bond and export-import licences
Tannery owners in the country are breathing a sigh of relief as the Department of Environment has decided to renew their environmental clearance certificates, which had remained stopped for around one and a half years.
The department stopped the issuance and renewal of new environmental clearance certificates due to pollution and non-compliance by the tanneries. The decision left the tannery owners in a quagmire.
Entrepreneurs said following green light from the department in early September, the expired licenses of 14 tanneries have been renewed. The renewal of the certificates of eight more tanneries is in the process.
Md Shaheen Ahamed, chairman of Bangladesh Tanners Association, told The Business Standard, "The tanneries that had environmental clearances are getting their expired clearances renewed from September. The problem of the tannery owners has been reduced with the decision. Everyone should be given clearance in phases."
Entrepreneurs said that environmental clearances are necessary for the renewal of trade license, bond license and export-import license. But they could not renew the necessary licenses as the renewal of environmental clearances had remained stopped for more than one and a half years.
ShakawatUllah, general secretary of Bangladesh Tanners Association (BTA), said, "Many tannery owners could not release chemicals from the port that they imported as they did not have environmental clearance. They had to pay demurrage for not releasing the chemicals in due time."
Md Mizanur Rahman, vice chairman of BTA and director of Samota Leather Complex Ltd, said, "Entrepreneurs face many problems due to a lack of environmental clearances. Many of us failed to release necessary chemicals that were imported before Eid-ul-Azha this year."
"We faced trouble in processing leather as we could not bring the chemicals to the tanneries. As a result, the prices of the raw materials increased. Now, as our environmental clearance is being renewed, it will ease for us the process of renewing other licenses," he said.
Recommendation of parliamentary committee
Last Tuesday (27 September), the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment, Forest and Climate Change recommended renewing the licenses of the compliant tanneries in a meeting. The committee discussed dividing all leather factories in Savar into three categories.
The committee also recommended increasingthe capacity of Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs) to 20,000 kilolitres per day within six months.
It suggested that action be taken against factories that do not have compliance and have not applied for clearance. For factories that do not have compliance but are willing to have it within six months, the committee recommended a renewal of their environmental clearance.
Besides, it has recommended that the ministry formulate and implement specific guidelines on the separation of chromium from tannery wastes.
In August last year, the committee recommended the closure of Savar's tannery city due to improper waste management.
The Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) established the Leather Industrial City in Savar by setting up a unified zone for the tanneries of Dhaka and its nearby areas.
According to the Bangladesh Tanners Association (BTA), so far about 150 tanneries have been shifted to Savar Industrial City.
However, the Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) of the leather estate has not been fully functional due to the production of excess liquid waste, resulting in environmental pollution.
Entrepreneurs said that since the CETP was not functional, the Department of Environment had stopped renewing environmental clearances for the tanneries which had shifted from Hazaribagh to Savar.