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Submitted by S. Akhtar Mahmood on
Just back from a mission to Bangladesh where IFC has initiated a project to improve water use efficiency and reduce pollutant discharge in the textile industry. The success of the garment industry in Bangladesh is well know and it can be argued that, by providing jobs to many poor women, the industry has contributed to shared growth. At the same time, its inefficient use of water and poor environmental practices (esp. by the part of the industry producing the textiles)is having an adverse impact on agricultural productivity and people's health in the surrounding areas. Thus,what it gives with one hand, it takes away with the other. We do not know yet what the net impact on shared prosperity is; more comprehensive data on resource use and pollutant discharge, and its impact, are needed to make that judgement. However, the sporadic evidence appears powerful enough to warrant some action - some of which will be supported by the IFC project. S. Akhtar Mahmood Investment Climate Department, WBG