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Accepted Paper:

Dhaka sitting on a plastic bomb: issues and concerns around waste governance, water quality, and public health  

Authors:

Md Nadiruzzaman (University of Hamburg)
Afsana Afrin Esha

Paper short abstract:

Plastic, an offer of modernity, is posing a huge future risk to our environment and public health by toxic elements released from plastic percolating down the surface and contaminates groundwater, which we often use as ‘safe’ drinking water.

Paper long abstract:

Plastic, an offer of modernity, has become one of the largest and significantly important parts of our everyday life. However, it is posing a huge threat to our environment and public health. Plastic does not only pollute the surface environment and freshwater and marine ecosystems, but toxic elements released from plastic also percolates down the surface and contaminates groundwater, which we often use as ‘safe’ drinking water. This particular issue becomes problematic when we look into the entire governance infrastructure of plastic and groundwater interface and how a state-sponsored ‘safe drinking water’ campaign could contrarily produce a ‘risk society’ in the global South. A recent study finds 83% of tap water samples taken around the world contained plastic pollutants, which means that people may be ingesting between 3,000 and 4,000 microparticles of plastic from tap water per year. This paper sheds light on the complex interface of plastic, water, and public health, on the relevance of Beck’s ‘risk society’ to understand this complexity, and on replicating the idea of ‘risk society’ in the case of Bangladesh. Above all, through understanding the plastic – groundwater – waste management nexus in Bangladesh, this paper highlights on and advocates for a new strategy of plastic governance in modern states.

Panel Evid03a
Intractable plastic: responsibilities in ‘plasticized’ worlds I