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POST TIME: 1 January, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Preventing polythene proliferation!
ONE OPTION CAN BE TO ALLOW THE HANDICRAFTS MANUFACTURING SECTOR OF THE COUNTRY TO GO INTO FULL BLOWN PRODUCTION OF BAGS MADE FROM NATURAL FIBRES TO BE SOLD TO ALL LEADING SUPERMARKET

Preventing polythene
proliferation!

It’s heartening to find that the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC), has taken the initiative to introduce bio-degradable jute made polythene bags to replace the harmful resurgence of poly bag users among the masses. Despite a blanket ban on polythene bags which came into force in 2002 and showed remarkable success, the government was compelled to backtrack from the complete revocation order to allowing 55 micron thick polythene bags for the vital garment, fish and medicine industries.
This slight relaxation in 2007 triggered a new wave of polythene production, which today, stands at a harmful situation since the production has gone far beyond the allocated sectors. Poly has made an ominous comeback and while the Department of Environment (DoE), from time to time, carries out mobile court operations, ensuring a total stoppage in the usage of polythene is unrealistic due to the absence of a viable alternative.
Poly usage is still not as widespread as it was prior to 2002, but unless another more eco-friendly option is introduced, slowly but inexorably, the harmful substance will come back to have a firm place in our lives. The call initially is for awareness though we feel that along with educating the people, a temporary stop gap alternative is essential. Soon after the ban on poly bags, netted bags came to the market though they never became too popular due to their flimsy construction.
One option can be to allow the handicrafts manufacturing sector of the country to go into full blown production of bags made from natural items to be sold to all leading supermarkets and kitchen bazars. The change won’t come overnight! Therefore, the approach has to be strategic, taking into consideration the large shopping complexes first.
As for jute bags, Bangladesh in the 70s was a country totally reliant on jute made items, which changed once poly stepped in. To revert to an old habit, a comprehensive public campaign on media, supported relentlessly by appeals of the ministry of environment can reap results.  But the end line is that we have to go for mass jute bag production in the country, for casual usage. BJMC can take the lead while banks can create a ring fenced SME loan for small industries venturing into re-usable jute bag production.
Since experts say that it takes 400 years for polythene to decompose, the issue needs to be picked up by international development agencies focusing on environment protection.