German symposium to promote jute as an alternative to plastic

Ansar Ahmed Ullah

On the 9th of October 2021, a symposium took place in Koblenz, Germany, on “Jute instead of Plastic 2.0”. The Europe-based diaspora organisation BASUG with the support of Engagement Global and financial grant from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development organised the event.

Together with various actors and partner organisations, there were technical exchanges on topics such as ‘Planet Plastic – Petroleum. Power. Garbage’, ‘Alternative to plastic and environmentally friendly packaging: comparative analysis between jute and marine algae’ and ‘Challenge and discussion of jute production and distribution’. A wide variety of representatives came together to look at the topic from different perspectives. This enabled a diverse approach to the subject of “plastic fasting”. The focus was on the well-known but nevertheless promising plastic alternative jute.

BASUG Chairman Bikash Chowdhury Barua, Head of the Welcome Center at the University of Koblenz-Landau Ines Tobis and former official of the State Bank of India in Frankfurt and climate activist Rokeya Rothe addressed the opening session. In his video message, the Mayor of Koblenz City David Langner warmly welcomed the participants of the symposium. Journalist and Project Director of BASUG AHM Abdul Hai moderated the symposium and BASUG Internee Kawsarul Hoq presented the research report on the main theme of the seminar.

“Using jute won’t be a magical solution but it will be a very good approach to achieving a plastic-free morning,” said Bikash Chowdhury Barua, Chairman of BASUG. The devastating effects of plastic production and use are falling back on the future of human beings. That is why a global approach is essential for coping with this massive task.

Raising awareness and promoting awareness of the dangers posed by the use of plastic to people and the environment. The many dangers and effects that plastic poses for human health and our planet have been known for many years. Alternative products, for example, made from jute, seaweed and biopolymers are options and approaches that already exist on the global market and are still being researched. The use of jute is also environmentally friendly and a very good alternative to the use of plastic. Seaweed is also a new alternative to plastic that does not use fresh water for production. Seaweed is edible, 100% biodegradable and can also be used as a natural fertilizer.

Ines Tobis, the Head of the ´Welcome Center´ at the University of Koblenz-Landau underscored the on-going theses, research, projects and experiences in this field. The experiences and reports show that the people in Bangladesh and Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nepal, and southern countries are not yet aware of the subject of plastic. There is still a lot of work to be done. Germany and Europe have already introduced a number of measures to significantly reduce the use of plastic. Bangladesh is still at the beginning of development in this sector.

The Chief Executive Officer of ´Eurogeotex´ ATM Golam Rabbani Raza spoke out in favour of how important it is to raise people’s awareness of the problem of the use of plastic and to inform them about the chances and benefits of using jute instead of plastic. The Co-founder of AltEco Dr M A K Azad in his presentation informed about the consequences of excessive plastic use. There are now enough alternatives and possibilities to replace the use of plastic with alternative materials. This gives hope and confidence in the protection of our planet.

Among others, Educational Expert from Vamos e.V. Tewannakit Mermagen, the Entrepreneur from eurogeotex Fazle Ali Khandoker, climate activist Jörg Rothe, Editor-in-Chief of the German-Bengali magazine ‘Die Grenze’ Riazul Islam, Research Assistant in the University of Koblenz-Landau Raihan Iqbal Rifat, Vice-Chairman of BASUG Sumana Barua, BASUG Internee Mai Li Julienne, Student Organizer Eunus Ali Rupom took part in the discussion.

German-Bengali singers Abdul Munim and Elius Ahmed rendered musical performance and poet and artist Mir Zabeda Yeasmin Imi recited her own poem at the end of the symposium.

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