The current stockpile of PPE is insufficient to meet the requirements of a global health disaster. Conventional PPE is also often single-use and non-degradable, contributing to environmental pollution globally.
Dr. Mubarak Ahmad Khan has invented a material made of jute cellulose (a plant fiber) which can be used to produce an environmentally-friendly version of personal protective equipment (PPE). This non-toxic and biodegradable material can be chemically modified to maintain its structure for days at a time while still dissolving in water when ready for disposal. Dr. Khan and his team at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh are experimenting with coating these sheets with chitosan (a nontoxic and biodegradable polysaccharide derived from prawn shells) which has antimicrobial properties, for added protection against pathogens.
In the first month of national lockdown Bangladesh produced roughly 14,500 tonnes of hazardous waste. Jute cellulose technology can help reduce the burden of plastic waste
The World Health Organization (WHO) has already declared a shortage of PPEs worldwide and conservatively estimates a requirement of 89 million surgical masks, 76 million surgical gloves, and 1.6 million medical goggles. The global PPE market is expected to reach $92.5 billion by 2025 due to increased demand by Sars and Covid-19.
Covid-19 is not the only nor the last health crisis. In the first month of national lockdown Bangladesh produced roughly 14,500 tonnes of hazardous waste. Jute cellulose technology can help reduce the burden of plastic waste in the environment and ensure a more sustainable and affordable alternative in under resourced areas. Expansion opportunities include the global PPE market and the market to reduce plastic waste for both medical and non-medical sectors.
Featured in the Daily Star, the Dhaka Tribune, Biofuels Digest, and more
Dr Mubarak Ahmad Khan’s biodegradable PPE spotlighted on The Sustainable Trade Initiative’s PPE Dashboard
The Jute-based biodegradable PPE team currently seeks:
A mentor to help craft their message, selling points, etc. in partnership & fundraising materials
Partnerships to test, manufacture, and distribute the PPE on a large scale. It’s critical that partners be open to continued collaboration with the team!
- Dr. Mehjabin Tishan Mahfuz Research Investigator, icddr,b