SCIP Plastics

"Sustainable Capacity building to reduce Irreversible Pollution by plastics"

Project funding:

Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)

Project duration: 12/2021 - 11/2024

Project partner:

Germany:
ISOE - Institute for Social-Ecological Research

Bangladesh:
KUET - Khulna University of Engineering & Technology
KCC - Khulna City Corporation
CUET - Chittagong University of Engineering & Technology

Background

With 1,100 inhabitants per square kilometre Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Today, about 164 million people live in Bangladesh, but according to population projections, the population is expected to grow by 19% until 2030. Currently about 47% of the urban population lives in slums.  

Due to its location in the Ganges delta Bangladesh counts as one of the top ten marine plastic polluters. The land surface is covered with streams, channels, wetlands and constantly changing rivers courses. Dysfunctional waste management systems are a main cause of plastic pollution of these water bodies, ultimately contributing to marine plastic pollution.

Without countermeasures, plastic pollution will continue to increase due to rapid growth, increasing globalization and monsoon-related extreme weather events. Measuring micro or marine plastic is inherently very difficult especially in an emerging country like Bangladesh. However, great potentials of reduction lie in transdisciplinary approaches and capacity building for the improvement of the municipal waste management chain in urban cities itself.

The target region of the project, Khulna, is the largest urban area within the delta, neighboring the largest contiguous mangrove forest and UNESCO World Heritage Site the Sundarbans. 

Project objective and approach

The overall objective is the long-term establishment of a knowledge transfer hub on reduction and preventing of marine plastic debris in the Bay of Bengal at the campus of the Khulna University of Engineering & Technology.

The hub will incorporate competences in the field of plastic avoidance and substitution as well as circular economy. Sustainable guidelines will be developed and policy consulting will be provided. Furthermore, a waste lab will be established to conduct waste analyses. The hub is going to be home to interdisciplinary actors from economy, politics and the local community who are developing an improved master plan for the reorganization of the waste management system in Khulna while meeting the informal sector’s demands.

The waste management chain (decentralized collection - recycling shops - landfill) will be evaluated from a socio-economic point of view and activities will be communicated via a to-establish inner-city awareness centre.

Additionally, an exemplary case study at Mongla Port will identify general point sources of plastic pollution at harbours for nation-wide transferability. An evaluation of the plastic substitution potential by local jute products completes the project objectives.

The project’s objectives contribute to at least 11 out of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) aiming for a special contribution to SDG 14 by reducing marine litter as an important step for the protection of the marine ecosystems.