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Newly innovated jute bags

It took much too long for the country’s jute industry to come up with a viable substitute for plastic shopping bags. Though belated, the innovation of jute-made poly bag by the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporations (BJMC) came as welcome news. Through this initiative, at long last, the use of polythene bags, an apparently unstoppable menace to environment, is going to face a formidable rival, as it seems to be the case. The reasons for feeling enthusiastic about the innovation are many. It is meant to prevent polythene bags from causing environmental degradation once large-scale production of jute bags is on. The most significant aspect, too visible to overlook, is the prospect that the golden fibre holds out for the future through its diversified use. Being bio-degradable and hence environment-friendly, these jute bags are likely to be in high demand overseas, in addition to huge domestic demand. This, more than anything, augurs well for rejuvenating the stagnating jute industry. The BJMC has reportedly started production of jute bags under a pilot project at Demra. It is set to go for commercial production by June this year producing around 1.5 million pieces of bags per day. The state-run corporation has been reported to be in the move for launching its promotional campaign at the Dhaka International Trade Fair. Media reports, quoting Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission sources, say that these jute bags are completely biodegradable, environment- and human health-friendly as these are made of jute cellulose. The government, to recall, had banned use of most varieties of polythene bags way back in 2002. Thereafter, it enacted a law — Mandatory Jute Packaging Act 2010 — providing for compulsory use of jute in packaging several products to discourage the use of polythene bags. But as things turned out, use of polythene bags, especially those used in shops and retail stores, has not stopped, despite occasional raids conducted by the law enforcers. This is understandably demand-driven, in the absence of an alternative product that could meet the requirement. Paper bags did not prove to be a viable substitute. Bags made of jute cellulose have now emerged as a proven and far better substitute. At this stage, it is important to keep in mind that unless these newly innovated bags are produced on a very large scale, the very purpose of innovation might not succeed. While wide availability will count here as a major factor, more important will be their affordable pricing that only large-scale production can ensure. Saying no to polythene is all good, but making grounds for it is the sole important task now. Experiences of many state-initiated ventures not succeeding for want of right planning and proper execution make one cautious about taking things as they should be done. However, given the very high potential of the newly innovated jute bags, it should be a matter of high priority for all concerned to make the endeavour a success.


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