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ED: Committing to jute as a viable alternative to polythene

  • Published at 03:00 am November 9th, 2020
jute (5)
In the jute sector, Tk125 crore was given in the first and second instalments, Tk 250 crore in the third and Tk300 crore in the fourth instalment Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

What is required is commitment to the golden fibre

It is that time again when the government talks of the immense potential of jute, of it being the golden fibre and one of Bangladesh’s signature crops -- a symbol of Bangladeshi culture and heritage. However, an unfortunate reality is that the jute industry has been floundering for some time now and has, unfortunately, failed to reach its true potential.

Therefore, when Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin urges the nation to use jute bags instead of polythene bags which devastate our environment, he is absolutely correct, but more must be done to truly drive the point of his message home among the masses in Bangladesh.

All nations benefit when adopting eco-friendly and sustainable choices but, in this regard, we have failed -- our rampant use of polythene bags, which, despite seeing a formal ban practically decades ago, continues to exist unchecked in the public sphere, across all walks of life.

For all that we have achieved as an economy, it is almost embarrassing that, despite knowing just how bad polythene use is for the environment, it remains a permanent fixture in our society. To that end, yes, saying that we should use jute bags instead is a good and necessary first step -- but for too long, we have not progressed beyond this first step.

What is required is commitment to the golden fibre, for the government to truly provide all necessary assistance for the research and development of jute bags and other jute products. Simultaneously, there is also the need to phase out polythene, and for public awareness campaigns and communication, across all spheres of life, educating the people on the problems of using polythene, and the virtues of embracing jute.

Moving away from polythene will not be easy, but anything besides full commitment to making it a reality is sure to result in failure, and jute will once again remain a talking point and nothing more.