PJMA asks Govt to help reduce health hazards
Beenish Abbas KARACHI: Pakistan Jute Mills Association (PJMA) has urged the federal government to ensure implementation of UN guidelines for the storage of food items and make compulsory the use of jute bags for the packaging and long term storage of grains including wheat which will help government to reduce health burden of public and ensure food security in the county.
Secretary PJMA Muhammad Younus in a communication to MNFSR (Ministry of National Food and Security Research) added that it is scientifically proven fact that plastic bags are neither environment friendly nor biodegradable and generate cancerous dioxins during the recycling procedure while it is surprising that highups in the ministry of food security still consider it as big source for storage of wheat which is all against the international norms and health standards. He further added that the use of Polypropylene plastic bags endanger lives of millions of people and the environment as well.
He further stated that all across the globe, use of Polypropylene has been made to minimal because of the hazardous impacts it has on the human life and hence, use of jute bags has been suggested as the best alternative to store grains and other edibles.
Globally, Polypropylene plastic bags are used only for the purpose of transportation, rather than storage, of wheat and other edible grains and their use is limited to a particular period of time as after that the hazardous impacts of these Polypropylene plastic bags tend to appear. According to a report by an independent researcher the poly bags interfere and reduce the respiration process of the grain, whereas Jute is a natural fiber and keeps the quality of the grain intact. The quality of the wheat grains cannot survive in the absence of ventilation because air does not pass through the synthetically produced Polypropylene bags. Therefore, jute being a natural Fibre is best if used for storage of grain.
Wheat is stored in areas such as Punjab, upper Sindh and some quantities in SindhBalochistan border where the temperature soars up above 45 C while humidity levels exceeds 75%. The report added that the wheat grain, being a living organism, needs to respire constantly. The respiration process generates heat which is not quickly dissipated because wheat crop is a poor conductor of heat. When wheat is stored at high moisture content and at high temperatures, it respires rapidly and gradually warms up. Wheat gives off carbon dioxide and water vapors, which results in shedding weight too. If water vapors do not dissipate, the grain will sweat and become raked with further deterioration.
Thus storage at such high temperature and in WPP bags, which are already susceptible to heat and light, results in quality deterioration of grain and in increased infestation and fungal levels.
It has been globally accepted that jute bags are best suitable for preserving wheat and different edible commodities for longer period because of aeration characteristics having the ability to keep the wheat quality intact in all seasons protecting the grain's natural nutritious value and vitality for germination.