Focus on monitoring in garment chemical use

Implementation and monitoring should be emphasised in the national chemical management guideline for textile and garment industry in Bangladesh to realise optimum export, suggested experts yesterday.

“The guideline will have to be implemented so that it turns out fruitful,” said Asif Ashraf, a director of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

“Buyers have different requirements to ensure safety and we will have to build up capacities in chemical management,” he said. He was addressing a consultation on the daft guideline organised by the Ministry of Commerce at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Dhaka.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) on behalf of the German government is helping the ministry develop the guideline.

Ashraf suggested including fire safety for chemical handling.

The guideline seeks to protect workers in the textile and readymade garment (RMG) sector from chemical hazards, prevent or reduce chemical-induced illnesses and injuries resulting from use of chemicals at work.

It also aims to enhance the protection of the general public and environment.

The draft says it would be applicable for any work activity irrespective of the economic scale and extend to supply of chemicals and disposal of associated waste.

The provisions should be considered as basic requirements in line with relevant national regulatory requirements, it says.

Md Fazle Ehsan Shamim, a vice-president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Associations (BKMEA), suggested finalising the draft in a way such that every local firm gets to benefit.

He further suggested making the guideline user friendly.

Abdullah Al Mamun, vice president of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association, suggested that the guideline pay importance on the distribution system of chemicals, especially for flammable and explosive ones.

Md Hafizur Rahman, additional secretary (export) to the ministry, urged stakeholders to provide inputs and comments within next 15 days for inclusion in the final draft.

“We have undertaken the preparation of the guideline to promote exports and create scopes for bargaining with buyers,” he noted.

He further said an export policy would be published within a short of time, setting an export target of $80 billion.

The consultation was presided over by Kamrunnaher, joint secretary to the ministry, and addressed by Werner Lange, cluster coordinator (textile), GIZ Bangladesh.

Assistant Prof Abbas Uddin of the dyes and chemical engineering department at the Bangladesh University of Textiles and Prof Shoeb Ahmed of the chemical engineering department at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology gave keynote presentations on the draft guideline.

According to Ahmed, the guideline will also give guidance on efficient management of chemicals.

Although Bangladesh has long been holding second position in the export of textile and garments, there is no national guideline governing the management of chemicals, he said.

He said a comprehensive national guideline on chemical management would help address this challenge. 


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