The textile and apparel (T&A) industry in Bangladesh has been the biggest engine for economic growth for the last three decades. Thanks to the growing contribution of T&A industry, the country has consistently achieved high economic growth, alleviated poverty, and increased per capita income. The comparative advantage of a large pool of cheap labor, easy access to power, and a high potential of creating employment opportunities turned T&A industry as the most thriving sector for Bangladesh. However, the pursuit of speedy economic growth has resulted in a large-scale and poorly planned rapid rise of textile factories and enterprises. A growing number of textile industries and their clustering in a few districts in the country are taking a heavy toll on human health, ecosystems, and the overall environment. As a result, the most productive and profitable industry has become one of the most polluting industries in the country and therefore, it is of paramount importance to address the intensifying threat of environmental degradation in a sustainable manner that balances T&A industrial growth and causes the least damage to human health and natural environment. This paper will explore the major drivers of poorly planned T&A industry in Bangladesh and their adverse impacts on human health and the environment followed by some recommendations that can improve the environmental performance of T&A industry to ensure safe growth in Bangladesh.
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