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Bangladesh State Minister for Fisheries and Livestock Narayan Chandra Chanda on July 14 vowed to catch all culprits who use toxic tannery waste in producing poultry and fish feed in the country. “We will soon find out how much tannery waste is being used and which factories are using them. We will also study the effects of toxic waste in poultry feed,” he said.
The minister was speaking at a discussion organised by Feed Industries Association Bangladesh (FIAB) at Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka. Poultry and fish feed makers demanded stricter policies to ensure tannery waste is not used in poultry feed. Demanding factories using tannery waste as protein sources are removed immediately, they urged a total ban on use of tannery waste in producing feed. They also pointed out that such bans cannot be enforced until all tannery owners install adequate waste treatment facilities at Hazaribagh where most tanneries are located. Many tanners are looking to relocate to a new tanning zone in Savar which will have waste treatment facilities.
The state minister pledged to hold talks with the environment ministry and tannery and poultry feed industry owners to find ways of stopping the use of toxic material. The minister also hinted that feed industries would be strictly forced to obtain registration before producing poultry feed. Stating that 80% of the poultry and fish feed produced and sold in the country is “good”, he said, “The tests are often conducted on the other 20%.” He urged journalists to specifically mention which feed producers are using toxins in their reports so that actions can be taken against the named producers. “Not all producers should be blamed for the crimes of a few. The poultry industry provides about half of the country's protein need, it should be protected,” he asserted. Moshiur Rahman, president of FIAB, said feed producers who use tannery wastes as protein sources do not have any government registration to do so. As these factories are totally illegal they need to be stopped now, he said. Highlighting the need for safe disposal of tannery waste, he said, the wastes contain high levels of hexavalent chromium, which causes cancer. “It also damages kidney, liver and can cause ulcers. Once accumulated in the body it affects a person's ability to metabolise iron and cause anaemia,” said SD Chowdhury, Professor of Nutritional Biotechnology at Bangladesh Agricultural University.
“While chromium should not be ingested under any circumstances, releasing it in the environment in high concentration also aggravates the health risk of people”, he warned, stressing the importance of proper treatment of tannery wastes.
It should be highlighted that the tanning industry uses chromium III salts and safe levels of chromium are found in some foodstuffs and supplements for human consumption. However, it appears that rouge traders in the food industry in the country have been operating outside of national food safety standards and best practice.
Source: The Daily Star