Industrial Water Pollution in Dhaka, Bangladesh: Strategies and Incentives for Pollution Control in Small and Medium Enterprises

By Ana Marr and Nandini Dasgupta.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The extent and gravity of the environmental degradation of the water resources in Dhaka due to untreated industrial waste is not fully recognised in international discourse. Pollution levels affect vast numbers, but the poor and the vulnerable are the worst affected. For example, rice productivity, the mainstay of poor farmers, in the Dhaka watershed has declined by 40% over a period of ten years. The study found significant correlations between water pollution and diseases such as jaundice, diarrhoea and skin problems. It was reported that the cost of treatment of one episode of skin disease could be as high as 29% of the weekly earnings of some of the poorest households.

The dominant approach to deal with pollution in the SMEs is technocratic. Given the magnitude of the problem this paper argues that to control industrial pollution by SMEs and to enhance their compliance it is necessary to move from the technocratic approach to one which can also address the wider institutional and attitudinal issues. Underlying this shift is the need to adopt the appropriate methodology. The multi-stakeholder analysis enables an understanding of the actors, their influence, their capacity to participate in, or oppose change, and the existing and embedded incentive structures which allow them to pursue interests which are generally detrimental to environmental good. This enabled core and supporting strategies to be developed around three types of actors in industrial pollution, i.e., (i) principal actors, who directly contribute to industrial pollution; (ii) stakeholders who exacerbate the situation; and (iii) potential actors in mitigation.

Within a carrot-and-stick framework, the strategies aim to improve environmental governance and transparency, set up a packet to incentive for industry and increase public awareness.

Keywords: Water Pollution, Health and Economic Impacts, Bangladesh, Clean Technologies, Institutional Development

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 3, Issue 11, pp.97-108. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.151MB).

Dr. Ana Marr

Programme Area Director, Department of International Business and Economics, Business School, University of Greenwich, London, London, UK

Dr. Ana Marr is Programme Area Director and Principal Lecturer at the University of Greenwich. She is a senior economist with over 15 years of policy-making research, consultancy and lecturing experience in economic and financial-market development, pro-poor credit, microfinance, poverty reduction, business development services, social capital, financial services for enterprise development, warehouse-receipt systems, private capital flows, foreign direct investment, international trade and IFI conditionality. Her extensive overseas experience includes 8 years with Central Bank of Peru, 2 years in Thailand, plus Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Colombia, Romania, Tanzania, South Africa and Zimbabwe. She has undertaken extensive research work for the World Bank, the UK Department for International Development, EU, GTZ, CFC, among other major international organisations.

Dr. Nandini Dasgupta

Reader and Director, School of Humanities, University of Greenwich, London, UK

Dr. Nandini Dasgupta is a development economist with 25 years experience as university lecturer on development, employment and environment (Calcutta, Bombay, London School of Economics). Currently Reader of the University of Greenwich at NRI. 10 years experience in enterprise development and regional growth, socio-economic impact assessment, urban poverty and employment generation, and livelihood strategies. Country experience in Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Vietnam, and long-term in India. Fluent in Bengali.

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