SCIP Plastics – Strengthening Waste Prevention in Khulna and Reducing Marine Plastic Pollution

Much of the plastic pollution in the oceans occurs on land. This is where the international research project “SCIP Plastics: Sustainable Capacity Building to Reduce Irreversible Pollution by Plastics” comes in. The research project is developing a master plan for the city of Khulna (Bangladesh) to sustainably transform the municipal waste management system. But a broad knowledge base is crucial for the success of the master plan in practice. Therefore, an inter- and transdisciplinary Knowledge Transfer Hub will be established, even beyond the project duration.

Research approach

An interdisciplinary research team is investigating key elements of the municipal waste management system - from collection to recycling to storage at the municipal landfill. In two case studies in the ports of the coastal cities of Mongla and Chattogram that aresources of pollution from the logistics sector are identified in order to develop prevention strategies together with the staff from port management and from public administration..A comparative life cycle assessment of selected plastic and jute products and related acceptance studies will provide information on the substitution potential of single-use plastic products. 

In addition to system knowledge (e.g. status quo analyses), the project will above all develop action and target knowledge for a sustainable transformation of the waste management system in Khulna. In order to bundle competences in the fields of waste management, plastics prevention and circular economy, the project partners from Bangladesh and Germany are jointly setting up an inter- and transdisciplinary Knowledge Transfer Hub on the campus of the Khulna University of Engineering & Technology. The research results of the individual working groups are assembled and processed in the Knowledge Transfer Hub. These results form the basis for a master plan that is being developed together with stakeholders from science, business, politics, and society. By integrating knowledge and taking into account different interests – in particular those of marginalized groups from the informal sector such as waste collectors – SCIP-Plastics ensures that the reorientation of the waste infrastructure is both ecologically and socially sustainable. In addition to developing the master plan, the Knowledge Transfer Hub will provide policy advice to the Khulna City Corporation. In order to disseminate the knowledge more widely, an inner-city branch (so-called Awareness Center) of the Knowledge Transfer Hub will be established. As an information and education centre, it launches awareness campaigns and events. 

Within the framework of the project, ISOE is responsible for conducting stakeholder analyses, workshops and awareness-raising, as well as for coordinating and conducting research on knowledge transfer, acceptance studies and socio-ecological impact analyses.


Bangladesh is located in the Ganges Delta and is considered to be among the ten countries with the highest rates of plastic waste inputs into the marine environment. Khulna is the largest city in the delta with a population of 1.5 million. In Khulna, as in all of Bangladesh, the waste infrastructure system is inadequate. There is no comprehensive collection of municipal waste, the existing public waste collection points are often inadequately managed, the landfill is not environmentally safe, there is a lack of technical facilities for waste separation and recycling, and the citizens' environmental awareness is low. Of the approximately 600 tons of waste – including a lot of plastic – that is generated daily in Khulna, only slightly more than half is managed via the infrastructure. Accordingly, just under 300 tons are (or have to be) disposed of directly into the environment. Regardless of whether waste is managed via infrastructure or not, a lot of waste ends up in rivers, e.g. via heavy rainfall and wind. These then transport the waste further – often into the sea.

The SCIP Plastics' research approach supports the National Sustainable Development Strategy 2010-21 (NSDS) which was prepared by the Government of Bangladesh to improve pollution and waste management, and it also supports the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 (BDP 2100), which aims to create a safe, climate-resilient and prosperous delta by 2100. All targets set within the framework of the research project and Bangladesh’s National Action Plans are directly or indirectly related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Project partners

  • Faculty of Civil Engineering / Bauhaus-Institute for Infrastructure Solutions (, Bauhaus Universität Weimar
  • Khulna University of Engineering & Technology (KUET)
  • Chittagong University of Engineering & Technology (CUET)
  • Khulna City Corporation (KCC)

Practice partner

  • Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
  • University Grants Commission (UGC)
  • Mayor Talukder Abdul Khaleque, Mayor's office Khulna, Municipality, KCC
  • Mongla Port Municipality
  • Bangladesh Jute Association (BJA)
  • Ward no. 24, Community based organisation (CBO)


The research project “SCIP Plastics – Sustainable Capacity Development for the Reduction of Irreversible Plastic Pollution” is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMU) within the framework of the funding program against marine litter.


2021/12 – 2024/11