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Dhaka, Dec 2 – The World Bank on Thursday approved $250 million in financing to help Bangladesh strengthen its environmental management and promote private sector participation in green investment.
The Bangladesh Environmental Sustainability and Transformation (BEST) Project will support the Department of Environment to strengthen its technical and administrative capacity.
The project will also help improve environmental regulations and enforcement to curb pollution and improve environmental quality, according to the World Bank.
Bangladesh Environmental Sustainability and Transformation will pilot new financing mechanisms to promote green investments in targeted sectors. It will also establish a Green Credit Guarantee Scheme to incentivise the financial sector to support green investments to reduce air pollution.
Successful implementation of the project will help Bangladesh tackle key pollution issues, benefitting over 21 million people living in Greater Dhaka and beyond, the World Bank said.
"Bangladesh's rapid economic growth and urbanisation have come at a high environmental cost in terms of pollution. Not only that the pollution is impacting our health, but also it is eroding the country’s economic competitiveness," said Dandan Chen, World Bank acting country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
Bangladesh Environmental Sustainability and Transformation will strengthen the country's environmental institutions to better control pollution and promote sustainable development, he added.
The project will help construct four vehicle inspection centres using a private-public partnership modality to inspect about 46,000 vehicles annually.
An e-waste management facility will be set up to process 3,500 metric tons of e-waste annually.
The project will help reduce over 1 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions from targeted sources, according to the World Bank.
"In newspapers, we regularly see reports on Dhaka's high level of air pollution. The World Bank estimate shows that in 2019, air pollution and lead exposure are responsible for more than one-fifth of the deaths in Bangladesh, costing about 12 percent of the country's GDP," said Jiang Ru, World Bank senior environment specialist and task team leader for the project.
"Strong environmental regulations and strict environmental enforcement will incentivise the private sector to invest in pollution control and green growth and thus help the country to achieve its target of net-zero emissions by 2050."
The project will also set up a first-ever network of 22 continuous surface water quality monitoring stations to start monitoring of water quality of Dhaka rivers and targeted international rivers in real-time.
It will also establish continuous water quality monitoring stations to ensure the environmental compliance of selected industrial effluent treatment plants.
The credit is from the World Bank's International Development Association, which provides concessional financing, and has a 30-year term with a five-year grace period. - UNB