Reported on: July 20, 2012 15:27 PM
Reported in: National
Dhaka, July 20 (UNB) – Bangladesh has made a significant progress in research, production and export of jute geotextiles (JGT), the most promising alternative for synthetic geotextiles used in various civil engineering applications, for the last couple of years, said experts and officials.
They said field trials of jute geotextiles on hill-slopes in the Chittagong Hill Tracts have further proved to be effective in preventing landslide in the country, a perennial disaster that claims many lives every year.
Statistics also reveal that JGTs export to European countries is on the rise, mostly due to the increase of its use in hill slope management, they added.
“As the application of JGT in soil erosion management in European countries proved fruitful, they’re very much optimistic about expanding its use that will open up a big global market for jute geo textiles produced in the country,” said Jute Diversification Promotion Centre (JGPC) director Md Mainul Haq.
Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) Director M Shamsul Haque said government jute mills have earned Tk 20 crore by exporting about 60,000 tonnes of JGT to European countries and the United States in the last fiscal.
The export of the new jute item has been increasing both in terms of volume and value over the last couple of years and the demand of the buyers is expected to rise in the coming years due to its successful application in hill-slope management, he pointed out.
“At present, BJMC mills are producing the JGTs mostly to meet the demands of some experimental projects inside the country. The mills have the ability to gear up the production for export purpose,” added Shamsul.
Bangladesh Jute Mills Association (BJMA) president Nazmul Haq said the export of JGTs by private jute mills has increased to 2,063 tonnes in the fiscal 2011-12 from 19,000 tonnes in the fiscal 2010-11.
“By analysing the export trend, it can be assumed that countries, including Australia, Germany, Belgium, France, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States, have gradually been increasing the application of JGTs in civil engineering applications,” said Nazmul.
He also pointed out that there is huge potential for JGTs to be used in hill-slope management and road construction in the country.
Professor Abdul Jabbar Khan of the civil engineering department at Buet told UNB that the use of geo-jutes has proved, through research and field trials, to be effective in protecting minor hill-slopes.
“Attached to the surface of a slope, JGTs can reduce the slope erosion in multiple ways…by creating downward pressure and absorbing about 40 percent raindrop-impact-energy,” said Jabbsar.
“Geo-jute also reduces about 35 percent of the water runoff on the slope by absorbing 4- 5 times water of its dry weight,” he said.
“Besides, the pores in the JGTs give scope for the growth of grass or other vegetation that can naturally protect erosion in the long run,” he added.
Prof Jabbar also pointed out that JGTs are suited to the environment. “JGTs are bound to easily degrade in soil, hence leaves no scope for pollution,” he said.
“Buet’s laboratory tests for the JGT applications for road embankment came out positive. The 16th ECB of Bangladesh Army also used jute geotextiles for several road constructions and hill-slope management projects back in 2008,”
“The 16th ECB also experimented with JGTs as a replacement of synthetic geotextiles in the pavement of two of their road construction projects. A road at Hathazari in Rangamati and another 200-metre long lane on the Rokeya Sharani Link Road, in front of the Prime Minister’s Office, were constructed by reinforcing JGT to the sub-grade layer in the pavement,” he said, noting that Bangladesh was the first country experiment with JGT as a pavement material for road construction.
“The outcome of the all the field trials is very satisfactory and we are conducting researches on the use of geo jutes in other possible civil engineering applications including river erosion management,” he added.
JGT can also reduce the construction costs in various other civil engineering works erosion on minor hill-slopes is also manageable in similar ways, says Jabbar.
Jabbar pointed out that JGT use can lead to the alteration of the traditional method in road construction that requires clay blankets or concrete blocks as covering to the roadside slopes.
“In the traditional method, the clay blankets are made by extracting the top soil of adjacent agricultural lands and cost about Tk 100 per square feet. On the other hand, roadside slopes near bridges in Bangladesh are usually protected against rain cut erosion with concrete blocks which costs about Tk 150 per square feet,” he explained.
JDPC official Mian Imam Musa said two civil engineering applications of JGTs have already been proved successful under the Development and Application of Potentially Important Jute Geo-Textile.
The field trial of geo-jute in two civil engineering applications has already been done, and the geo-jute will be used in eight more sights as field trials under the project, he said.
“It’s expected that we’ll be able to standardise the use of JGTs in several civil engineering applications by 2014 that will open up the markets both home and abroad,” said Imam, also the coordinator of the project.