Crabs curbing COVID: Bangladeshi scientist develops face masks from chitosan and jute

August 17, 2020 |

In Bangladesh, a researcher known for promoting the use of jute has developed personal protective equipment made of jute and crab shells to help stop the spread of COVID-19 without creating further waste. Mubarak Ahmad Khan, adviser to Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation, developed the biodegradable and non-toxic material using cellulose extracted from jute fiber and chitosan, a material found in shellfish shells. He hopes it will help replace some of the plastic waste that will be generated by PPE used to prevent the spread of the disease.

The PPE dissolves in water within seven days and in soap and water within minutes. Khan also tells The Daily Star that chitosan is also known to possess antiviral properties.

“Widespread public health campaigns with clear instructions about how to replace petroleum-based non-degradable PPE with eco-friendly PPE will be needed. Therefore, we proposed to develop a manufacturing system along with a recycling system to reduce environmental pollution and the cost of producing new materials,” Khan adds. “Otherwise, plastic waste from PPE will be another epidemic shortly.”

Khan is known in eco-friend circles for developing a jute polymer used in the Sonali, a ubiquitous shopping bag replacing plastic in the Southeast Asian country.

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Category: Chemicals & Materials

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