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Slap higher tax on single-use plastic products: ESDO

FE REPORT | June 24, 2022 00:00:00

An environmental group on Thursday called for the government to reconsider the proposed tax withdrawal on all types of polythene bags and impose a higher tax on single-use plastic products.

Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2022-23 has suggested withdrawing the current 5.0-per cent supplementary duty from all types of polythene and plastic bags.

The proposal, which includes the withdrawal of duty on oven plastic bags and wrapping materials made of polyethylene, was made to reduce tax burden on local manufacturers.

Environment experts came up with the demand at a press conference organised by Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO) in Dhaka city.

The ESDO files a petition with Mr Kamal seeking reconsideration of the removal of the proposed supplementary duty from plastic bags and imposition of higher taxes on disposable plastic products.

"The government should reconsider the decision on the supplementary duty withdrawal from all types of polythene bags," says Syed Marghub Murshed, former secretary of the government and chairperson of ESDO.

The ESDO has published a statement focusing on a writ petition earlier filed by the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association on its behalf.

In its ruling, the High Court asked the authorities concerned to prepare the ground for banning single-use plastics in coastal areas.

Following the court order, the environment, forest and climate change ministry later issued a gazette instructing all concerned to completely stop the use of single-use plastic products.

The products include single-use plastic plates, glasses, cups and cutleries, straws, Styrofoam food packaging, coffee stirrer, lollipop cover sachet, cigarette filter and cotton bud.

As per the court order, the ministry stopped the usage of these non-recyclable and non-biodegradable (multilayer packaging) products from 12 coastal districts of Bangladesh by 2023.

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