After getting a huge positive response and the successful invention of ‘Sonali Bag’ and ‘Jute-Tin’ made from jute polymer Dr. Mubarak Ahmad Khan, Scientific Advisor of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) and Former Chief Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, has taken an initiative to make special Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which is similar to conventional PPE in terms of quality but it is not toxic.
When environmental pollution due to throwing PPEs and other protective clothing here and there caught global attention, this newly invented PPE that will be made with the mixer of jute polymer, crabs and shrimps has arisen as a promising solution to the massive environmental pollution during the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Mubarak informed to a daily newspaper that cellulose and chitosan are the main elements of this PPE. Cellulose will be extracted from natural jute fiber and chitosan, a natural fibrous material that will be gained from the hard outer skeleton of shellfish such as crabs, lobsters and shrimps.
This PPE is completely biodegradable and non-toxic.
Now it is at the conceptual stage. According to the scientist, Chitosan provides anti-viral immune protection power that will protect from Covid-19 and other harmful viruses. Chitosan has been being used to produce many effective vaccines and other drugs as a component for long days.
The new biodegradable PPE will be easier to purify and dispose of as the material dissolves in water within seven days and in soapy water in three minutes, during which most germs are killed.
In Bangladesh, as jute and shrimp are easily available materials, so the extraction process of cellulose, chitosan and preparation of the biopolymers are eco-friendly and cost-effective. Cellulose-chitosan polymer is also ahead in the case of tensile strength, 1.8 times higher than hazardous polypropylene.
Dr. Mubarak Ahmad Khan told, “Awareness of petroleum-based material exclusion is growing among consumers, manufacturers and suppliers worldwide under public health campaigns. Plastic wastes are on the rise during the Covid-19 outbreak. So, we propose to develop a manufacturing and recycling model system to reduce environmental pollution.”
In this regard, a test approval has already come from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) of U.S. To produce the protective gear, Mubarak’s team is working with the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) and is going to test this new concept at Shishu Hospital shortly.
According to the Environment and Social Development Organization (ESDO), around 14,500 tons of hazardous plastic waste had been produced during the lockdown in which 11.2% were surgical face masks, 21% were regular gloves, 20% were surgical gloves, 40.9% were single-use polythene shopping bags and 6.4% were empty bottles of hand sanitizer.
But the new concept and invented biodegradable PPE and its ingredients will reduce the use of plastic as people’s daily basis ki
Dr. Mubarak had created a craze among the textile and jute community in 2015 by inventing ‘jute polymer’ and this polymer was used to create a kind of bag that looks, feels and works like polythene which has zero environmental impact. This bio-bag is being produced in a large scale by BJMC.