Ranchi, July 26
Dr Mohammad Jawaid, Senior Professor of Biocomposite Technology Laboratory of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) has stressed using wheat straw, rice husk, sugarcane bagasse, and oil palm waste for manufacturing biodegradable packaging material because streets across towns are littered with used plastic goods that eventually choke drains, rivers, and oceans and also kill animals.
He said non-compostable plastics have a negative impact on the marine environment, birds, and cattle. In India, twenty cows die every day due to the consumption of polythene with food wastes. That is why the Government of India has banned single-use plastics from July 1 this year and other countries are also planning to increase environmental regulations to minimize the use of plastic in daily life.
Dr Jawaid was delivering a guest lecture on ‘Safe biodegradable packaging material from agro wastes’ at Birsa Agricultural University (BAU) on Monday (July 25). He said several companies across the globe are manufacturing spoons, unbreakable cups, lunch boxes, trays, travel boxes, food containers, fruit, vegetable, and meat packaging material from agro wastes which are lightweight, sturdy, and environment friendly. Some companies have also started producing paper bottles to replace plastic bottles by pulp molding. Some firms are also working on producing compostable planting bags. These are chemical-free, non-toxic, waterproof, oil resistant, and have no smell. It costs higher than plastic items but when the overall cost of environmental management will be taken into consideration, it would not appear costly, he added. However, some basic research needs to be conducted on pulp preparation and molding from agro wastes.
Dr Jawaid also shared experiences and findings of the UPM research project supported by Newton Fund, the UK for commercial exploitation of oil palm waste for sustainable products. Several packaging items are being prepared of oil palm waste under the project and technology is being disseminated. Malaysia and Indonesia are the highest exporters of palm oil where palm waste is getting piled up after oil extraction.
The lecture was organized by Centre for Advanced Agricultural Science & Technology (CAAST) set up under the World-Bank aided National Agricultural Higher Education Project under operation at BAU.
Dr Jawaid, a native of Gaya and alumnus of College of Forestry, BAU has to his credit 55 books, 75 book chapters, and more than 400 peer-reviewed international journal papers. Altogether 26 Ph. D. and 13 Master’s students graduated under his supervision during 2014–2021. He is presently guiding 18 such students in the fields of hybrid composites, green composites, nanocomposites, natural fiber-reinforced composites, and nanocellulose.