Bangladeshi scientist Dr. Mubarak Ahmad Khan, Advisor of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) and Former Chief Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission, invented a biodegradable and eco-friendly bag from jute, which took six years to complete the process. Dr. Mubarak named his discovery ‘jute polymer’, which is being considered as a great achievement for Bangladesh and already, a significant number of national and foreign institutions have expressed their interests in that but unfortunately the jute polymer production project may be sealed due to lack of 170 crore Tk. Gave a recent interview on textile Today and discussed his frustrations and opportunities of his new invention.
Dr. Mubarak Ahmad Khan said that the invention of polythene from Jute has not been promoted as it has been expected. It requires a separate budget, separate identity, and separate institution. He has given importance to these three issues. If these are not available, the polythene production project from jute will be stopped.
The scientist said, “Due to the lack of 170 crore Tk, the project polythene from Jute production is on the way of depletion. A huge bureaucratic complexion is an obstacle for the money. There is no guarantee for the availability of the money after going through so much complexity. It is not clear whether allocation will be available at all.”
For this reason, Scientist Mubarak Ahmad Khan is embarrassed and frustrated. He said, “Why did I leave the job of the University of Michigan and came here? For this still, now I am going through a ‘Cold War’ with my family.”
He said, ‘We could not continue the work of the project according to the expectations. I do not have the money needed for it. Jute Ministry’s Ministers, State Ministers, BJMC and above all Latif Bawani Jute Mills authority are sincere in this regard. But the government’s process of giving the money is very long. It is not immediately available if you want the money. Following the rules of government requires a lot of time to get the money.
He also said, “The way we were working, we got a huge response in the country and abroad. From Europe, Australia, UK and the United States, we have received much more response than that from the traders of Bangladesh.”
“Australian government banned poly bags in the country from April 1. They are now looking for alternatives. A team from Australia came to this option to find the alternative. I hear, they also talked with the minister. The minister also met with the Japanese. I have heard that they have demanded 100 tons per day,” he added.
ACI Company makes 25 tons polythene-packaging packets every day. They are very interested to take this product. Besides, also various organizations in Bangladesh have also shown their interest in this product.
Dr. Mubarak is very pleased with his technology. If any government or non-government organization wants to invest here, then he will transfer his technology.
He said, “Every day 100 to 500 tons, no matter how many thousands demand, it’s not a problem in production quantity. I created the technology myself. You can say it’s a milestone. But a good aspect is that now a replica of it has been created. As a result, you can make a bigger and more modern machine. If someone comes forward, of course, I will help him.”
Asked for a separate budget, a separate identity, and a separate institution, Dr. Mubarak Ahmad Khan said, “There is a big problem in getting these. The issue must be emphasized by the government. Which I do not see right now. Either the government will cooperate with my expectations or the government will say – you go through your technology, I will leave.”
The jute polymer, which is also called ‘Sonali bag’, is produced by extracting cellulose from jute fiber and jute is one of the major crops that grow in abundance in our land. Jute polymer can take one and a half times more load than polythene. Although the polymer does not absorb water, it decomposes within three to four months under the soil.
The Scientist said, “If the total produced jute in Bangladesh transferred to ‘Sonali Bag’ or other carrying material then it can full-fill one-third of world’s demand.” On the other hand, jute composite can replace steel as the fiber strength of jute is 22 times higher than steel. If we work on every part of jute, Bangladesh’s jute industry will grow bigger.”
The jute polymer production project has given a new hope to flourish the jute industry. The government has already taken an initiative to establish a plant equipped with automatic machines to produce the polymer. However, the required 170 crore Tk should provide urgently and make the money allocating process easy, otherwise, the project will nip in the bud.
Also Read: ‘Jute polybag’ discovered by Dr. Mubarak could begin a new era of reviving jute