TEZPUR, Nov 6 - A project on an alternative source of fibre, developed from the snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) by Hiranya Raj Sharma, a class VIII student of Dhekiajuli town of Sonitpur district, was awarded the Khagendra Nath Brahma State Child Scientist Award in the lower age group at the 27th State-level National Children's Science Congress (NCSC) 2019 held from November 1-4 at the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV) of Tinsukia district situated at Rangajan in Doomdooma. Hiranya Raj, a student of Polestar Academy of Singri area in Dhekiajuli town conducted research under the guidance of an assistant teacher of Dhekiajuli High School, Sailendra Sharma to understand that the plant which is locally popular as �khoru gumoni gos� has enough utility.
It is worth mentioning that the snake plant is a wild evergreen perennial plant locally available and spreads by way of its creeping rhizomes. It is a common weed of the roadsides, abandoned gardens and waste areas. Its leaves are thick and the mature leaves are dark green in colour, usually ranging from 60-160 centimetres in length and 6-10 centimetres in width.
It is to be mentioned here that though the conventional biodegradable fibres like jute, mesta, cotton etc., are playing their roles but the snake plant is a viable alternative. The student undertook the project to study the snake plant and to explore its potential to be used as a substitute/supplement to the conventional fibres and also to protect and preserve the traditional knowledge and to scientifically test these ideas.
Speaking about the process of producing fibre from snake plant, Hiranya said that it can be extracted in two ways � pure water retting and cow urine retting. �The cow urine retting process is more efficient as it requires a lesser number of days. In order to have a comparative estimate of the strength of the fibre, the bearing point and the breaking point of jute fibre and the snake plant fibre were measured manually by a weighing machine and it was found that the snake plant fibre is stronger than the jute fibre.�
He added that environmental pollution due to the use of non-biodegradable plastic/synthetic bags and pouches has been a menace in the present day world. The time has now come to discard the use of single use plastic/synthetic material in favour of a healthy environment. Bio-fibre based multi-purpose bags are much talked about as a replacement to these plastic/synthetic bags. Bio-fibre like the fibre from snake plant can play a great role towards replacement of plastic bags and supplement the conventional bio-fibre based multiuse bags.
However, the lack of proper knowledge on possible benefits from the snake plant, has led to a situation where it is uprooted from fields. A survey was conducted about the plant among the farmers where it was found that nearly 97.64 % had no knowledge about its usefulness. But if awareness is created, the snake plant could be used for producing an eco-friendly fibre from which goods of daily use can be made.