Dr. Mubarak Ahmed Khan, Chief Scientific Adviser of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) and former Director General of Atomic Energy Research Establishment of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC). He did his Ph.D. in Radiation and Polymer Chemistry. He has conducted research works in many countries including America, Germany, Japan etc. He is author/co-author of about 600+ publications including 16 book chapters and a patent. He is part time/visiting Professor of different universities of home and abroad. He is also the inventor of Jutin (Jute Reinforced Polymer Corrugated Sheet) the outstanding housing material from jute plastic composite and food preservative using oligo chitosan (alternative to the formalin). He visited more than 22 countries for participating different seminars, workshops, symposiums, conferences as invited speaker or speaker. Bangladesh Textiles and Jute Ministry has launched a pilot project to manufacture biodegradable poly bags from jute as an alternative to polythene. Textiles and Jute Minister Emaz Uddin Pramanik inaugurated a pilot plant for producing such bags at Latif Bawani Jute Mills in Demra, Dhaka. Dr. Mubarak Ahmed Khan invented the jute-made poly bags under the supervision of BJMC. Textile Focus Editor M A Islam Riyadh recently visited Dr. Mubarak and discussed about his research on jute. Some of the key discussion is mentioned for our readers.
Textile Focus: What is the feedback of Jute Poly-bag?
Dr. Mubarak: I am receiving good feedback from locally and internationally. It has already created a bright prospect for commercial uses. One USA based company of UAE already hunting 25,000 Tones per month. Recently I visited Australia and I talked with Melbourne City Corporation, they informed me that they will declare Poly-bag free city once we are able to provide them the sufficient quantity of Jute Poly-bag for Melbourne city. We have million pieces order of speed boat made by jute polymer from Germany. They just want to know when we will be able to provide them. In fact we could not control it in our Dhaka city. One of the major reason of drainage and water flow of our Dhaka city is all types of ploy-bag. If we can use this jute poly-bag which is biodegradable with a very short time we can save our environment.
Textile Focus: In what stage it is now and how you are managing the developments?
Dr. Mubarak: I am working on further development of this project with the special support of ministry of textile and jute. I had a lot of opportunities to work different countries as immigrant for further development but I feel this is my land and just, I need to do something for this. Our development team is working on diversified products. Different furniture are being made by Jute Sheet i.e chair, table, roof sheet, household materials, etc. We have displayed all the products at Atomic Energy Commission, Saver. Our Government is promoting this project and providing all support. We are fortunate that we have jute the main raw material so are in good position. Challenge is to maintain the machineries. We are also developing the machineries as those are very expensive. Hopefully within very short time it will be a golden source of business and revenue as well.
Textile Focus: What is the composition of Jute Polybag?
Dr. Mubarak: One can’t differentiate Jute Ploy-bag with normal polyethene bag at a glance. It is now under development process how to make it more eco-friendly, recyclable, sustainable and cost effective. Normally this bag is mingled with soil within 3 months. Interestingly we can control this time and set the composition how much time frame we need. Main Chemical ingredients are used – Jute Cellulose, Synthetic Polymer as binder which is biodegradable, Cross linker for chemical reaction.
Textile Focus: How do you see the prospect of this products?
Dr. Mubarak: I can see huge prospect of Jute ploy bag. It has diversified use opportunities in many sectors. Our garments products can be present in this bag which eco-friendly. BJMC has provided space in one of its factory to do the R&D. Prime Minister declared this bag as Sonali Bag.
The government is initiating the products for development, then Government will definitely make it open for marketing and promotion from private partners. We are blessed with Jute and we can make the best use of jute. India also works on Jute on diversified product, they have large production capacity which is absent here in Bangladesh. Government should encourage local entrepreneurs to manufacture value added products. If we can make sure of our jute we will be able to earn huge foreign currency.
Textile Focus: How you are measuring the costing as commercial product?
Dr. Mubarak: Cost is a major issue for any product as everybody is looking for cheap products. When a scientist works on a project he doesn’t think about the pricing, he only focuses on the product quality and environmental issue. As it is in development process final costing can’t be mentioned now as we are working on cost issue. Also the cost depends on a lot of parameters i.e avability and cost of raw materials, machineries price, operational cost, bank loan and government facilities, labor cost etc. I am hopeful that the price will be reasonable and it will be cost effective.