Lecturer invents non-toxic plastic bag

KUANTAN: Norashikin Mat Zain used to wonder if the banana tree trunks, which her father had chopped and thrown away, could be made into something useful.

This came about as the 28-year- old was growing up in a farming family in Kuala Perlis, Perlis.

Soon after joining Universiti Malaysia Pahang as a lecturer at the Chemical Engineering and Natural Resources Faculty in 2006, she carried out research on recycling agricultural waste to replace the conventional plastic bags which are harder to dispose of.

And not surprisingly, she included banana tree trunks and corn husks into the list of potential agricultural waste.

As a result of her research, she came up with a bio-degradable and non-toxic plastic bag which has garnered interests from several private companies keen to market the product.

UMP has applied a patent on it.

Norashikin’s research also bagged a UMP award in the research category on Monday night. The award was for outstanding lecturers and researchers.

“I’ve always been keen on recycling waste and seeing the problem in the disposing of plastic bags, I wanted to find a way of replacing it with one that is kinder to the environment.

“The conventional plastic bags are difficult to dispose of and can cause problems to marine life, especially turtles, which can die from suffocation.”

The mother of one took home RM18,000 (S$7,705) and a certificate for her research.

This is the latest in a string of awards for her invention. Last year, she won a gold medal and two special awards at the British Invention Show 2009 in London.

Meanwhile, UMP lecturer Zamzuri Hamedon, 38, received RM19,000 and a certificate for his invention under the product category.

The lecturer from the Manufacturing Engineering and Technology Management Faculty said he began working on his invention, a technique to treat joint contracture without open surgery, after a friend fractured his arm in an accident.

“I saw the pain my friend had to go through and wondered if there was another way for him to heal without operation or the cast.”

His invention, using recycled aluminium components, is ready for use and is now waiting for a suitable patient for product-testing.

Another winner in the research category was Profesor Madya Dr Hayder A. Abdul Bari from the Chemical and Natural Resources Engineering faculty who took home RM19,000 and a certificate.

Earlier, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, in his speech, said such recognition would inspire lecturers to work harder and produce more research works and journals.

From Asia One

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