POST TIME: 16 August, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Demand of ‘Sonali Bag’ increases at home and abroad
BSS, Dhaka

Demand of ‘Sonali Bag’ increases at home and abroad

The demand of newly invented biodegradable ‘Sonali bag’, a suitable alternative to harmful polythene bag, is increasing day by day both locally and internationally.

Bangladesh was the first country to ban plastic or polythene bags, which severely pollutes water and environment, in 2002. Considering the threats of the polythene bags, about 61 countries around the world, including China, France, India and Denmark, have so far banned its use, according to officials of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC).

They said against the backdrop of restriction of plastic or polythene bag use, more than 100 local and international buyers have already showed their interest to buy biodegradable polymer bags from Bangladesh.

“Every day I receive emails or phone calls of buyers from different countries where they show their interest to procure the environment-friendly jute polymer bags,” said Dr Mubarak Ahmad Khan, team leader of Sonali Bag project and scientific adviser of BJMC.

He said UK-based Greenpeace, Melbourne City Council, Miyama International Co Ltd of Japan, Paris-based Europa Multitrading, Access Printing Solutions of West Virginia, the USA, and Canada-based Synergy Globe Inc. have already shown interest to buy Sonali bags from Bangladesh.

“We export jute products. We earlier sent samples of Sonali bags to many buyers of the USA, the UK and Mexico, and they have shown interest to procure the jute polymer bags… it has a huge demand around the world,” director of export firm Eco Bangla Jute Limited Sabuj ossain told the news agency.

He said his firm has already created a huge global market of Sonali bags, assuring that the firm can export 10 million pieces of the bag per month.

Bangladesh produced about 92 lakh bales of jute in 2018, he said, adding, “If we use all the jute we produced last year to make polymer bags, we can meet only one third of its global demand”.

He hoped that BJMC would be able to produce one tonne of Sonali bags per day in the coming days.

Bangladesh is currently producing only 2,000 environment-friendly Sonali bags per day on experimental basis, but it has given top priority to producing the biodegradable bag which will help check plastic and polythene use and protect biodiversity and environment.

To produce jute-made bag commercially, the government signed an agreement with a United Kingdom firm.

On October 2, 2018, the BJMC and Futamura Chemical Ltd inked the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Under the agreement, the UK firm will provide technical support to the BJMC for commercial production of Sonali bag.

In addition to this, the government on April 7, 2019 approved Taka 10 crore from Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF) to run the Sonali Bag project for producing polymer bags from jute and conducting advance research on it, wh3ich paves a way to go for its commercial production.

Under the project, environment-friendly bags and packages will be produced by making biodegradable polymer from jute and a laboratory with modern equipment will be set up and necessary chemicals will be procured to conduct advance research on Sonali bags aiming at going for its commercial production.

“Once the project starts in full swing, we hope we would be able to produce the Sonali Bag commercially within six months,” said BJMC general manager Mamnur Rashid.