At Darling Harbour in Sydney, on 21st May, the United Nations Year of Natural Fibres was officially launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke, and the Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Dr Jacques Diouf.
Visitors to Albury Enviro Bags who have read this blog or who have read our article on the United Nations Year of Natural Fibres will be well aware of our promotion of natural fibres for the production of reusable bags. Although the advantages of natural fibres for the production of reusable bags has generally not been emphasised by Australian authorities and environmental groups, we have made a detailed comparison of jute, cotton, and synthetic non woven polypropylene on this web site.
According to an ABC report by David Claughton, Dr Diouf emphasised the many social advantages of natural fibres:
“The UN Director General Jacques Diouf says the trend towards synthetics can and should be reversed because natural fibres are renewable, and expanding the market for them will improve the livelihood of producers around the world. Mr Diouf says: ‘70% of the world’s poor live in rural areas and rely on agriculture, including the production of natural fibres, for their livelihood. Anything done to ensure the industry is sustainable is also a step towards fighting hunger and poverty’.”
Given the many environmental and social advantages of natural fibres in the production of reusable bags it is absolutely astonishing that natural fibres have not received more support in Australia from governments and environmental groups. Perhaps this, the year of natural fibres, will see environmental groups and other authorities move away from their current support for synthetic plastics in the production of reusable bags.