Pollution-Plagued Bangladesh Imposes “Green Tax” on Factories That Dump Untreated Effluent Into Rivers

Pollution-plagued Bangladesh has passed an extra “green tax” in an attempt to force polluting factories to clean up their act. The factories will have to pay extra levies if they are found to have polluted “air, soil and water.”

The green tax is part of Bangladesh’s $32 billion budget for 2014-2015, announced Thursday.

Announcing the budget in parliament, Finance Minister A.M.A Muhith said that industrial effluent and waste from urban sewage was “severely contaminating our rivers and taking heavy toll on the aquatic environment and its surroundings.”bangladesh

The tax was aimed mainly at Bangladesh’s powerful textile and leather processing industries, which pour untreated effluent into the nation’s rivers.

“I propose to impose a one percent Environment Protection Surcharge or Green Tax on an ad-valorem basis on all kinds of products manufactured in Bangladesh by the industries which pollute the environment,” continued Muhith.

Munith said that Bangladesh was one of the world’s most polluted countries and the green tax would “get rid of this situation.” He expected it would encourage industries “to set up effluent treatment plants”.

Factories in Bangladesh already face one-off fines for breaches of pollution standards, but bribes often influence inspectors, reportedly.

Munith also announced tax exemptions for brick factories that build environmentally friendly kilns. There are approximately 6,000 such brick factories in Bangladesh.

By Sid Douglas