Microplastic Pollution in Bangladesh: Research and Management Needs


Hefa Cheng
College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China
Tariqul Islam
Department of Agricultural Construction and Environmental Engineering, Sylhet Agricultural University, Sylhet, Bangladesh
Yanliang Li
School of Environment and Civil Engineering, Dongguan University of Technology, Dongguan, Guangdong, China
Md Mahfuzur Rob
Department of Horticulture, Sylhet Agricultural University, Sylhet, 3100, Bangladesh


As a result of the wide-ranging applications of plastics in our daily life, microplastics, which derive primarily from the breakdown of waste plastics discarded in the environment, have become omnipresent in the terrestrial and aquatic environment, and are increasingly considered as a potentially serious threat to the biodiversity and ecosystem. Pollution of plastic debris and microplastics in the inland and marine environment has raised concerns in Bangladesh, which is the world’s most densely populated country besides city states and has one of the largest river networks in the world. Compared to many parts of the world, there have been only few investigations on microplastic pollution in Bangladesh. This work summarizes the research progress on separation and characterization of microplastics, as well as their occurrence and sources in Bangladesh. Despite of the first total ban on plastic bags in the world introduced back in 2002, microplastics have been ubiquitously detected in Bangladesh’s inland and marine environment, with the majority of them coming from the secondary sources. We will also discuss the research priorities to improve the understanding on the ecotoxicological effect and fate of microplastics, the knowledge gaps to enable comprehensive risk assessment of microplastic pollution on local ecosystems and human health, and the need for effective management of plastic wastes and their recycling in Bangladesh.

November 3, 2022