GIZ &Lafarge Surma promotes co-processing of textile waste as a solution to protect the environment in Bangladesh

Sylhet, 20th February 2014: A field visit to Lafarge Surma Cement Ltd. plant in Chhatak, Sunamganj was organized by “Promotion of Social and Environmental Standards in the Industry (PSES)”, a program of the governments of Bangladesh and Germany, implemented by GIZ (German Development Cooperation). Participants in the visit included government officials from Department of Environment, a representative from BEPZA, leaders from sector associations such as BTMA and selected factory owners who sent sludge from their waste water treatment plants to Lafarge Surma Cement for co-processing.

Textile and garment industries often have washing and dyeing units for fabrics or garments that generate huge volumes of wastewater that need to be treated in waste water treatment plants. The treatment of such waste water results in the accumulation of a semi-solid residue which is referred to as sludge. The sludge, containing heavy metals and potentially hazardous organic compounds, requires to be disposed off in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.

Elke Shrestha, Senior Business Advisor, PSES expressed, “GIZ is convinced that this method solves the sludge disposal problem of the sector and we hope very much that private sector will make use of this disposal method of textile sludge offered by Lafarge”.

Arif Bhuiyan, Supply Chain Director, Lafarge Surma Cement said, “As a part of our Corporate Social Responsibility program, we are glad to contribute to a cleaner environment in Bangladesh through this initiative. Also, as the only integrated cement plant in the country, it is our responsibility to use our unique and most advanced technology to support any such initiative to protect the environment.”

The visitors were presented with the results of the trial study and given a walk-through in Lafarge’s clinker production plant in Chatak, where dried sludge is disposed into the kiln. Lafarge expressed high optimism regarding the feasibility of the trial and mentioned that this disposal method is available to RMG and textile factories that want to dispose off their sludge in an environmentally responsible manner.

Prior to the field trip, PSES (Promotion of Social and Environmental Standards in the Industry) supported the Department of Environment to develop standards and guidelines for the management of industrial sludge. The standards and guidelines shall become part of the environmental legislation of Bangladesh. In connection to the guidelines PSES and Department of Environment are conducting pilot projects for testing environmentally friendly disposal options for sludge. One such project is co-processing dried textile sludge in cement clinker production in partnership with Lafarge Surma Cement Ltd.

Lafarge Surma Cement Ltd. is a joint venture of Lafarge and Cementos Molins. Lafarge is the world leader in building materials with top-ranking positions in its Cement, Aggregates & Concrete businesses. It has more than 176 years of experience and operates in 64 countries with around 68,000 employees. Since 2010, the Lafarge Group has been part of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, in recognition of its sustainable development actions. Cementos Molins is a family owned Spanish Company with more than 80 years of experience. Apart from its operation in Spain, it has operations in Bangladesh, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, and Tunisia, controlling 16 million tons of cement.

GIZ An innovative partner for the global challenges of tomorrow –The wide range of services offered by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH are based on a wealth of regional and technicalexpertise and on tried and tested management know-how. We are a German federalenterprise and offer workable, sustainable and effective solutions in political,economic and social change processes.

Most of our work is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). However, GIZ also operates on behalf of other German ministries and public and private bodies in Germany and abroad. These include governments of other countries, the European Commission, the United Nations and the World Bank. We are equally committed to helping our clients in the private sector attain their goals.

GIZ operates throughout Germany and in more than 130 countries worldwide. Our registered offices are in Bonn and Eschborn. We have more than 17,000 staff members around the globe, some 70% of whom are employed locally as national personnel. GIZ’s business volume was about EUR 2 billion as at 31 December 2011.