'The rest of the fund will be approved very soon'
The commercial production of jute polymer-based biodegradable Sonali Bag is going to start soon as the government has recently approved the required fund in this regard.
Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Dr Mubarak Hossain, a notable scientist and the chief scientific officer at the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC), said “Hopefully, the fund will be released soon. We will embark on the production as a pilot project. We have a plan to produce one lakh Sonali bags commercially per day.”
He said they initially demanded Tk2crore for the pilot project to produce the bags, and the government already approved half the amount.
“The rest of the fund will be approved very soon,” Dr Mubarak hoped.
The machine that is used in the production of the eco-friendly jute bag has already been procured to be used in the pilot basis commercial production, he added, saying the state-owned Latif Bawani Jute Mills Ltd in Demra would produce the bags.
Dr Mubarak Hossain started his work to invent a biodegradable polymer from jute fiber in 2010. After trying for several years, success finally came in 2015. The product, made of polymer, was named “Sonali Bag” by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
He said though petroleum-based synthetic substance polythene was cheaper than a Sonali Bag, it was biodegradable and made from 100% organic materials.
“The product has great potential to take over the market of polythene and polypropylene bags and private entrepreneurs already started showing interests in producing the bag”, he added.
While asked about the plan with the bags , he said they would sale the Sonali bags to shops at different shopping malls and to entrepreneurs who are interested to send the product abroad as sample.
“The demand for the newly invented ‘Sonali bag’ is increasing day by day both locally and internationally; and every day I receive e-mails or phone calls from buyers of different countries, showing their interests to procure the environment-friendly jute polymer bags,” he added.
Currently Bangladesh is producing only 2,000 environment-friendly Sonali bags per day on experimental basis.
“Though we are ready for full-swing commercial production, we haven’t been able to do so owing to lack of sufficient fund. The government is very much keen to promote wide scale use of the biodegradable jute polymer bags instead of polythene so that pollution can be minimized,” Dr Mubarak said.
Earlier on October 2, last year the BJMC and Futamura Chemical Ltd inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under which the UK firm is supposed to provide technical support to the BJMC for the commercial production of the much-talked about bags.
In addition to this, on April 7, 2019, Bangladesh Climate Change Trust Fund (BCCTF) approved Tk10 crore to conduct advance research on the various quality and environmental aspects of polymer jute bags, which will pave the way for exporting the produce in the global market. This will also enable BJMC to go for the large-scale commercial production in the future.