"In our study we found that bags do not contain any suitable light-inhibitor or anti-ultra violates material. This leads to the breaking of WPP bags and mixing of small pieces of polypropylene with wheat. Therefore, the transportation and storage of wheat in such bags is not possible as the light and heat causes the leakages in the bag," the PCSIR report said.
Previously jute bags are used largely for preserving and transporting wheat in different parts of the country. The jute bags are also still being utilized by private sector, which is an alternative, save and effective item for wheat stocking. Jute bags are ideal for packaging and storage of wheat, rice, and other edibles.
The massive of polypropylene bags in the commercial sector is spreading pollution in the environment, posing a serious threat to human lives, livestock and food and cash crops of the country.
Polypropylene bags’ usage in Pakistan is increasing with accelerated pace over the period of past years for its lowest rates and easy availability in rural and urban cities used mostly for stocking and transporting edibles, fertilizes and agriculture products.
In contrast to the advanced countries, where the usage of polypropylene bags has been banned completely on the grounds of its hazardous impacts over human health and environment at large.
Environmentalists said that Polypropylene bags emits poisonous chemically gasses from its production in the mills to its disposal through combustion of commercial and household wastage in open fields.
Polypropylene processing causes emission of mono-oxides, nitrogen & hydro-carbon to air as well as toxic substances into waste water, they said and added our soil water bodies and atmosphere will be polluted and health of the coming generations will be severely affected.
Naeem Quershi, an environmentalist said WPP (woven polypropylene) bags left exposed to sunlight even under tarpaulins disintegrate into powder and get mixed with the grain. The powder is known to contain deadly elements such as lead, cadmium, chromium, copper, nickel and zinc.
The antioxidants in the fabric are known to have caused skin irritation in certain climates. The inhalation of the high nickel concentration can cause acute and sub-acute poisoning. Nickel dust and Aerosols of Nickel metal, nickel oxide and others are carcinogenic. Antimony dioxide used as the stabilizing and flame-proofing agent in poly bags is also carcinogenic, he added.
Environmentalists said the disposal of solid waste of poly bags is going to be one of the biggest problems, which the government is going to face very soon. The drainage wastewater schemes are not working anywhere in Pakistan on account of plastic waste.
They emphasized that government and public should act for protecting environment of the country collectively and avoid using plastic and polypropylene bags at commercial and domestic level.
They suggested that alternative resources such as jute and cotton bags should be used on priority for transportation and storage, which are environment friendly and 100% biodegradable.
These bags not only save the country’s environment but also curtail the health budget of individuals. Also, these bags are also affordable and could be used multiple time for different purposes.
The main attraction for the government to use polypropylene bags is their low cost as compared to higher cost of the bags, which are produced from natural fiber. On the contrary, jute bag has double capacity to store foods items and it is used more than twice safely.
Jute bags are made of natural fiber therefore, can stand sunlight. During 2001, when there was bumper wheat crop the wheat procured last for three years in jute bags without any damage as Jute is undoubtedly the friendly fiber not only for human beings but also for the environment.