The World Bank has approved a $250 million financing package to help Bangladesh strengthen environmental management and promote private sector participation in green investment, bdnews24.com reports.
The credit, deriving from the World Bank’s International Development Association programme for concessional financing, has a 30-year term with a five-year grace period, the lender said in an emailed statement on Friday.
The funds will power a project titled 'Bangladesh Environmental Sustainability and Transformation' aimed at supporting the government in strengthening its technical and administrative capacity to improve environmental regulations and enforcement to curb pollution.
The project will pilot new financing mechanisms to promote green investments in targeted sectors, while also establishing a Green Credit Guarantee Scheme to incentivise the financial sector to support green investments in a bid to reduce air pollution.
Successful implementation of the project will help the country tackle key pollution issues, benefitting over 21 million people living in Greater Dhaka and beyond, according to the World Bank.
“Bangladesh’s rapid economic growth and urbanization 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.
“The World Bank has been a long-standing partner to Bangladesh in tackling environmental challenges. This project will strengthen the country’s environmental institutions to better control pollution and promote sustainable development.”
Under the project, four vehicle inspection centres will be constructed using the private-public partnership modality to inspect about 46,000 vehicles annually.
A 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 Green House Gas emissions from targeted sources.
“In newspapers, we regularly see reports on Dhaka’s high level of air pollution. 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 incentivize 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 rivers in Dhaka and targeted international shores in real time.
It will also establish continuous water quality monitoring stations to ensure the environmental compliance of selected industrial effluent treatment plants.