Bonn: The first ‘Climate-friendly Bangladesh Day’ and a Workshop on ‘Jute Instead of Plastic’ was held in Bonn on 3November 2018.
Europe-based Diaspora organization, BASUG organized the workshop in cooperation with Bonn Network for Development with support from the German development organization, SUE-NRW. The on-line European news portal, Our Voice was the media partner. Jute and jute-related products were on display at different stalls at the DGB House where the program was organized.
Speakers in the workshop called upon the consumers to make a firm commitment to avoid use of plastic in their day to day life in order to make the world plastic-free. To fulfill this ambitious but very important goal, they said, ‘we should start the practice from home and immediately’. Political leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, students, development and climate activists and researchers expressed their interest and commitment to continue their efforts and initiatives to avoid plastic products and promote the use of alternative to plastic in all spheres of their lives. Having said this, they at the same time underscored the need for ‘practice and awareness campaign’ starting from own family and own home.
The Mayor of City Bonn Gabriele Klingmüllerinaugurated the event as the Chief Guest, while BASUG Chairman Bikash Chowdhury Barua was in the chair. Commercial Counselor of Bangladesh Embassy in Germany Dr Syed Masum Ahmed Choudhury attended the event as guest of honour. In the technical session, Co-founder of AltEco and Manager (Research and Development) of Scubet Germany Dr M A K Azad presented the key-note paper on “Alternative to the Plastic and Environment-Friendly Packaging, Comparative Analysis between Jute and Sea-Weeds.“ while the Mapping research report on the ‘trend and practice of plastic use and its alternative’ was presented by city planner and former Scientific Officer of Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Science Khurshid Hasan Sajib. Director Overseas of Jutetex Bangladesh M K Ibrahim presented a paper on technical aspects and prospects of jute as alternative to plastic products.
The workshop was addressed among others by the President of Bangabandhu Foundation Germany (BFG) Younus Ali Khan, BFG Chief Advisor Mahbubul Hoque, Green Party leader Shahabuddin Mia, Vice President of House of Integration and German-Bangladesh Association Nurul Islam and Tamanna Talukder, BASUG Organiser Dr Golam M Mohiuddin, BASUG Project Officer Mahamud Farid Chowdhury, Assistant Professor of Rajshahi University Amena Khatun Urmee and Pakistani Environment Engineer Hina Habib and Dr M. Rabiul Hosen, Postdoctoral Researcher in the University Hospital Bonn spoke on the day. BASUG Project Coordinator AHM Abdul Hai moderated the workshop and technical sessions.
The City Mayor of Bonn Gabriele Klingmüller in her speech said, back in 1978, churches and Christian development aid started their campaign against plastic bags. The alternative came from Bangladesh and was sold in GEPA fair trade and solidarity shops. I still remember buying my first (jute or) burlaps-bag at the price of 2,50 Deutsche Mark. It was brown, a bit smelly and certainly itchy. In 1978, we didn’t even have plastic waste collection. Almost nobody brought a bag from home to the shops. Buying one of these burlaps bag was much more than fair trade-solidarity with poor seamstresses in Bangladesh alone – it was a kick-start to a new and more sustainable lifestyle. It was a symbol. A symbol of our standing up against plastic and against the attitude of throwing away instead of reusing. A symbol of a new ecological and social awareness. A symbol helping to recognize like-minded people.” She added, 40 years have passed. We are now in 2018. Unfortunately, plastic waste pollution is worse than ever. The oceans are full of plastic waste. Micro plastic is taking over.
Commercial Counselor Dr Syed Masum Ahmed Choudhury appreciated the campaign initiative against plastic and the promotion of the environment- friendly jute products as an alternative to plastic. He expressed the interest of the Bangladesh Embassy in Germany to initiate such initiative and organize similar event in the capital of Germany. In this regard he assured to provide all possible support in organizing such event in Berlin in collaboration with BASUG early next year. He also encouraged BASUG to take greater initiatives on this vital issue to create awareness among the people in other areas too.
BASUG Chairman Bikash Barua said, plastic has become an inevitable part of our lives. Although certain countries have already banned, it is not easy to get rid of it. People still depend a lot on plastic. Just think of all those items that we normally use in our home and office. Everyday plastic bottle, cups, brushes and bags contribute to increasing the amount of plastic accumulated on earth. Plastic does not break down or vanish, it can lead to the choking of drains, causing national disasters like floods.
On the occasion an art and development exhibition with the information stands of 7 organisations and associations and the art works of the artist and poet Mir ZabedaYeasminwas arranged for the whole day. Seraji Foundation, Women Initiative for Balua Kandi Bangladesh, German-Bangladesh Association, JuteTex Bangladesh, AltEco, BASUG and Haus der Integration took part in the exhibition with information materials, jute products, banner and flyers on the issue. Popular Bangladeshi-Germany singer from Cologne Abdul Munim staged his musical performance on the occasion.