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8 May, 2017 00:00 00 AM

Upholding jute products for environmental security

Jute purifies air and lends a hand addressing global warming. It acts as an environment-cleaning tool
Shishir Reza
Upholding jute products for environmental security

Jute, commonly known as golden fiber in Bangladesh has a bright future.  It is a natural fiber and hence a renewable resource with a high biomass production per unit land area. 
Bangladesh is the world’s second-largest producer of jute and the largest exporter of the fiber. Jute and jute products has been brought 1115 million ($) during 2010-11 fiscal year, 967 million ($) in 2011-12 and 1031 million ($) in 2012-13. She is in opportunity gainer when western consumers who turn away from environmentally unfriendly synthetic belongings. This is plateful to revive the traditional jute industry in Bangladesh. Other hand, Bangladesh scientist Maqsudul Alam has been successfully decoded the crucial genome sequence of jute, production, conservation and characterization.
Regarding global warming, a major concern in the present world, the synthetic materials are being considered as the root of many problems while the natural fiber products are proven to be absolutely harmless. The superiority of natural fibers as an environmental friendly product over synthetics could be understood from thy facts that as per a rough estimate plastic bags cause over 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animals death every year.  Jute purifies air and lends a hand addressing global warming. With a high CO2 assimilation power, jute acts as an environment-cleaning tool. Greenhouse gas emissions from jute are negative on account of the large sequestration that occurs during 120 days growing period. One hectare of jute plants can consume up to 15 MT of CO2 and release 11MT of O2 during its life cycle, the life-supporting agent. It improves soil health by toting up nutrient to the soil thereby increasing the yield of other crops. About 1 MT of dry matter is put back to the soil in the form of leafs. It gives back to nature 60% of the nutrients it takes for its growth. Jute yields 5-10MT/ac of dry matter while fastest growing wood plants require 10-12 years to mature and yields only 8-12 MT/ha. 
Jute cropping system enhances soil organic matter through leaf shedding during the growing season and increases nutrient accessibility in soil. It is commonly rotated with other food crops like rice and other cereals, vegetables, oilseeds or pulses, all of which are moderately or heavy feeders of nutrients from the native source, but do not normally return them to soil, except legumes, as jute does. 
Jute is now being used to manufacture more eco-friendly interiors for cars and automobiles. The demand for jute has made its way into the automotive industry. Also, it has entered the non-woven industry. Nearly 80% of jute goods are used as packaging materials, burlap and sacks. The remaining products are carpet, yarn, cordage, padding, twine, ropes, decorative fabrics and miscellaneous items for industrial use. 
We are common people, normally can think in relation to eco-friendly use of jute products in an every single purposes. Jute products are entirely biodegradable and recyclable can be disposed off without causing environmental hazard. It can be dumped anywhere requiring minimal space and after completion of dumping period, the soil could be used as organic manure. It is photo and thermal degradable, non-toxic, strong, durable, color and light-fast fiber and has UV absorbing, sound and heat insulation capacity, low thermal conduction and anti-static properties make it a wise choice in home decor.
The combination of jute (70%) and cotton (30%) can be use for home decoration, apron for kitchen wear, and cushion for home furnishing. Women can use ladies clogs, sandal (choti) and jute -leather sandal. Tourists can use beach bags, sling bags. Students prefer transparent braided bags at university, college and school. Home can be equipped through handicrafts produced by Bamboo -jute and jute cotton applique, photo frame, ornament box, tissue box. Jute-yarn composites can be use as plate, glass, mattress etc. Diversified jute products are becoming more and more valuable to the consumers. Among these are espadrilles, soft sweaters and cardigans, floor coverings, home textiles, high performance technical textiles, genotextiles, composites and more. In addition, geno-textiles are used for soil erosion control, seed protection, weed control and many other agricultural and landscaping uses. Diversified by-products from jute can be used in cosmetics, medicine, paints and other products.  
Jute leafs are being used as vegetables in Africa, Middle East, Southeast Asia, including Bangladesh for a long time. Also, it is also used as herbal medicine to control or prevent dysentery, worm and constipation etc. Jute leafs is rich in vitamins, carotinoids, calcium, potassium and dietary fibers. It is high heat tolerant crop, can grow within the temperature range of 200-300c and relative humidity of 70-80 % is favorable for successful cultivation. Jute stick meets most of the wood needs of the world. This is used as fuel and also used in making fence in rural area. 
But due to the aggression of environmental unfriendly plastics and nylon, game of politics in politics and development pattern of neo-liberalism, jute is facing some implications in Bangladesh. As I want to mention, production cost of jute is comparatively higher than the other crops. But the price of jute did not inc rease in the national and international market proportionately. It demoralized the farmers to produce the jute. Plastic and polythene is cheaper than the jute and jute materials. So jute products lost its demand in the market. There is no significant development technology to increase the production of jute in our country. So jute cannot compete with the price of the artificial fibers.  Local agricultural officers or scientific officers are not cooperative the farmers to continue the production of jute. Jute sector of Bangladesh was under the national and international pressure from the beginning. Many interests were served for other country and our jute industries were neglected. The production of jute reduced and many mills were handed over in the private sector or closed down in last couple of years in Bangladesh. On the other hand, production and number of mills have been increased in the neighboring countries. Even, we have not seen any link between policy formation and enforcement to improve the jute sectors. 
As the climate of Bangladesh is favorable to cultivation, jute is produced almost all over the country. Jute can get its fame significance if we can take the necessary steps for its. We can enrich our national economy by using this scope; farmers should get the full cooperation for the production of jute. Govt. should prepare an effective policy to revive the status of the jute. Jute has a great potential at present form of jute is increasing in the national and international market. Farmers have lost their interests in producing jute for various causes. Government should motivate them by giving cooperation for producing jute. 
Production of jute is highly depends on the good quality of seeds. But in recent time farmers are facing problems to collect the good quality of seeds of jute. The price and the availability of the fertilizers is also a full-size problem for producing jute. Government should take necessary steps for ensuring good quality of seeds and bio-fertilizers. Farmers will not be interested to produce if they do not get the first-rate price. Bangladesh jute Mills Corporation is the organization of government for the jute mills. Huge corruption is found in this organization. This jute mills under the government organization are not operating the full strength should be remove corruption. 
With growing awareness about pollution free sustainable development it is high time to make a global intensive to re-establish the natural fibers in its earliest predominant position. This became pertinent to the objective of global efforts towards reducing the pace of global warming.   

The writer is an Environment Analyst and Associate Member of Bangladesh Economic Association
E-mail: [email protected]


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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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