The project entitled “Sustainable Capacity building to reduce Irreversible Pollution by Plastics-shortly SCIP Plastics Project” is a collaborative research between Khulna University of Engineering & Technology (KUET), Khulna, Bangladesh and Bauhaus-Universität Weimar (BUW), Germany. The overall objective of this project is the long-term establishment of a knowledge transfer hub on the campus of KUET for land-based reduction and prevention of marine plastic waste in the Bay of Bengal. In this hub, competencies in the fields of activity of plastic prevention, substitution and circular economy will be trained and bundled, sustainable guidelines will be developed and policy advice will be offered. This project is the Grant Programme against marine litter funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection, Germany. Within the framework of the consortium, BUW is responsible for the overall coordination of the project. The Institute for Social-Ecological Research (ISOE) is accompanying involved. In particular, all participatory processes in the working groups i.e. in the integration of the informal sector, are supported by ISOE in terms of technical content and are to be understood as interactive, adapted processes. The political partners in Bangladesh are Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; University Grants Commission of Bangladesh; Mayor’s office Khulna City Corporation; Mayor’s office of Mongla Pourashava and Nirala Janokallan Sanity at Ward no. 24. While additional acting partner in Bangladesh is the Chittagong University of Engineering & Technology (CUET). The duration of the project is from 1st April 2022 to 30 November 2024.
The SCIP Plastics project aims to prevent plastic pollution of the oceans in the long term and protect sensitive aquatic life and habitats. Bangladesh situated in the Bay of Bengal is, due to its location in the mostly populated delta of the world, one of the highest marine plastic polluting countries. As an emerging nation with immense population, economic and waste growth rates, Bangladesh will also rise in the global statistics of marine plastic pollution if adequate countermeasures are not taken. In addition to the intended project outcomes, to handle these challenges further positive co-benefits will be achieved. To protect marine habitats and achieve long-term marine litter reduction, the main input pathways of plastics into aquatic systems from land to water need to be stopped. The overall objective of this project is the long-term establishment of a knowledge transfer HUB on the campus of KUET for land-based reduction and prevention of marine plastic waste in the Bay of Bengal. In this HUB, competencies in the fields of activity of plastic prevention, substitution and circular economy will be trained and bundled, sustainable guidelines will be developed and policy advice will be offered. The exemplary case study at Mongla Port will identify point sources of pollution at harbours for nationwide potential estimation. Integral part of the hub is the upgrading of a waste management laboratory for internal investigation within the groups and up the process chain from "collection" to "disposal". The development and spatial arrangement of secondary disposal points and the integration of existing recycling shops as well as the informal sector, are subsumed under collection. The KUET is the leading authority of these working groups.
The main benefit of this project is that the capacity building in the political, economic, social, and scientific spheres within the project not only fosters compliance with the administrative plastic pollution prevention framework, but also supports self-created democratic processes and structures. The self-sustaining creation of institutions in municipal and university settings strengthens the permanent anchoring of the Knowledge transfer HUB, its resilient operation and future adaptation to new challenges. Another positive side effect, which is not measurable in the reduction of plastic waste, is the sustainable creation of secure working and living conditions for the actors in the informal waste recycling sector. Livelihood security in the recycling sector supports poverty reduction and liberation from dependencies. Tackling pollution at source will directly conserve the particularly valuable yet endangered UNSECO Sundarbans mangrove habitat, home to protected wildlife and biodiversity in the Bay of Bengal.