Monday, January 21, 2019 | ePaper

Encourage eco-friendly jute bags

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RECENTLY, 12 organizations have served a legal notice to the government and plastic producers, seeking proper implementation of the law to prevent the production, import, marketing and use of plastic bags. The use of plastic bags had declined for a short period in March of 2002 when the then government had imposed embargo on production and use of it. However, it did not last for long. Rather, the whimsical permission (in 2002) of using plastic bags over 100 microns in packaging resulted in uncontrolled production, marketing and use of it again.
The government in 2010 enacted Mandatory Jute Packaging Act but inconvenience, unavailability, high price, and lack of awareness for using jute prompted to spread of polythene use in every purpose.  It created an adverse impact on the environment.
We know that polythene is not biodegradable and is largely to blame for the filling up of canals and drainage systems in the city. We generate around 1,700 tonnes of plastic waste daily and the import of plastic raw materials costs Tk 2,000 crore annually. The sad reality is that no government agency has been able to control the production, distribution, usage and dumping of polybags, and the use of polythene shopping bags is widespread. We need a nationwide campaign to raise people's awareness of what polythene is doing to our environment.
We do believe, the government should vigorously promote synthesized polymer from jute fibre that was discovered by a scientist at Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation back in 2012. Jute-based packaging bag should be introduced on a wide-scale because it is biodegradable and it is also water and air-resistant. Jute polymer, as it is known, can carry about one and a half times the load of a traditional polythene bag while being environment friendly. The very fact is that; it is perishable in nature. So, it could be the answer to our environmental problems. Moreover, the canals, waterways and drainage systems would be free from the dreaded polythene and plastic products.
Large-scale production of jute polymer would help to revive our jute industry and also save farmers engaged in jute cultivation.

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