PJMA asks Govt to help re­duce health hazards

The Financial Daily - - NATIONAL -

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.

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