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FFEM Project | Building Capacity to Reduce Childhood Lead Poisoning in Bangladesh

FFEM Project | Building Capacity to Reduce Childhood Lead Poisoning in Bangladesh
the details…
Key pollutant
French Facility for Global Environment - FFEM, a fund financed by the French government
Project Partners

Relevant Stakeholders: Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Department of Environment (DoE), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI), Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR), battery associations, private sectors, research institutions, NGOs, international development organizations, financial institutions, and academics


Bangladesh ranks fourth globally in lead pollution (IHME, 2020), with 60% of its children (approximately 36 million) suffering from lead poisoning. With an average blood lead level of 6.8 µg/dL in children, Bangladesh faces severe health risks due to lead exposure. This leads to an annual loss of 20 million IQ points, 140,000 adult cardiac deaths, and a staggering economic cost of US$28,633 million, equivalent to 6-9% of the country’s GDP (Pure Earth & UNICEF, 2020; Larson and Sánchez-Triana, 2023). Lead pollution persists in the environment due to activities such as battery recycling and e-waste discharge, contaminating the water, soil, and air. Lead pollution causes low growth of plants, contaminates the vegetables grown in the area, and also causes cattle death.

Amidst demographic, climatic, and migratory pressures and rapid industrial development, particularly in the battery sector, the FFEM project aims to strengthen public authorities’ capacity to manage environmental policies. This includes corrective measures, such as identifying high blood lead levels in populations near informal recycling sites of used lead-acid batteries (ULAB), rehabilitating polluted sites; and preventive actions, such as regulating ULAB recycling practices and providing environmental and health education to stakeholders. 

Designed by Pure Earth Bangladesh, the project aims for replicability, community-wide benefits, and local management sustainability upon completion.


The overall objective of the proposed project is to reduce lead pollution and to cooperate with the Government of Bangladesh in defining the tools, strategies, and capacities needed to ensure environmentally sound management of used lead-acid batteries. The project aims to foster a regulatory environment and market conditions capable of transitioning from a non-compliant and informal ULAB recycling industry to a more environmentally sound formal industry.

  • Objective 1. Ensure the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) has the knowledge, tools & capacity to establish environmentally sound management practices, including regulations, and standards, for the formal and semi-formal sectors of used lead-acid battery (ULAB) recycling and manufacture
  • Objective 2. Provide GoB economic tools to shift recycling of ULAB from the informal to the formal sector
  • Objective 3. Build capacity in GoB to design and implement a program to identify and remediate ULAB recycling sites
  • Objective 4. Increase awareness of the GoB, private sector, public, donor agencies, and other stakeholders of the environmental and health effects of lead exposure
Project Activities
  • Analyzing Policy and Regulatory Gaps, Manufacturing, and Recycling Practices: Assessing regulatory gaps, manufacturing, and recycling practices and delving into existing controls, irregular practices, and integrating possibilities for informal workers. Highlighting the best practices compared with international practices, and culminating in recommendations for improvement.
  • Developing Economic Tools: Providing recommendations to the government for formalizing used battery recycling from the informal sector by emphasizing market solutions. Through assessment and analysis, addressing closure impacts on workers and proposing integration strategies. Developing reports with tailored recommendations for Bangladesh and suggesting economic tools for the transition to formalized recycling.
  • Building Capacity: Supporting the government, NGOs, and private sectors to manage used lead-acid batteries effectively through tools, technical expertise, training, and resources for environmentally friendly practices.
  • Establishing Monitoring Mechanism: Supporting government efforts by providing necessary tools and information on toxic sites in Bangladesh to identify and monitor lead-contaminated sites actively.
  • Remediating Lead-Contaminated Sites: Collaborating with the government to design, implement, and monitor abandoned informal lead acid battery recycling site cleanup programs, ensuring environmental and public health protection.
  • Raising awareness: Engaging the community and decision-makers and raising awareness on lead pollution’s environmental and health impacts among all stakeholders.