By Hein Htet Zaw (MMAL)
There are numerous species of bamboo in the world and Myanmar has 22 genera and 120 species of bamboo naturally growing. Mostly, the bamboos are naturally growing at the elevation between 300 ft. and 2600 ft. They usually grow in the areas having temperature round about 100 degree Fahrenheit and rainfall 31 to 254 inches. The bamboos declined to grow in water-covered areas such as wet lands, swamps and marshes and salinated soil. Bamboos emit oxygen 35% more than other plants do. It is learnt that Myanmar stands third in the world in the respect of amount of bamboo growing areas. Bamboos naturally grow widespread in Myanmar and they are essential for man in producing utility materials.
Due to over extraction and wild fire bamboo jungles are now diminishing and on the way to depletion. Nowadays, bamboo lovers, forest conservationists, climatologists and those who want to prevent natural disasters are doing preventive measures for bamboo depletion by organizing activities such as growing bamboo in manageable scale, encouraging to grow bamboo in commercial scale and giving bamboos free of charge to growers.
Bamboos are used in producing commodities, furniture and also inconstruction works. Besides, bamboo charcoal and bamboo ash are also used in agriculture and medicine for human health. Liquid distilled from bamboo (is locally called “bamboo god potion”) has been known to have medicinal value. Growing bamboo throughout the country, delivering educating programme regarding bamboo and free distribution of bamboos has been conducted by Bamboo Growing Association in cooperation with Wai Lu Kyaw Foundation.
“ The foundation is going to the incident site and helping the victims in the wake of natural hazards, such as flood, storm and fire with the necessary materials. On the other hand we have to protect the deterioration of the environment by planting the trees. Excessive extraction of wood leads to depletion of forest and makes the hills and mountains barren of trees. Consequently climate change and landslides occur frequently in many places, especially in hilly regions and in rainy season” said U Soe Thein, patron of Wai Lu Kyaw Foundation.
“The only tree that can rapidly afforest an area is bamboo. Bamboo can be planted in place of trees other than the trees that produce wood of good quality. Bamboo is commonly used by the grass root people in building the houses. Bamboo can also be transformed into the varieties of high-quality finished products by using high technology” he added.
He continued, “Thailand has attained a good income from bamboo-based production of cosmetics and commodities. They have the strong market and high technology. They are finding the technology from internet and are producing on trial the fluid distilled from bamboo which is so potent that metaphorically coined as “potion given by god”. Moreover, the distilled fluid from bamboo is used in producing bio-pesticide, cosmetics such as soap (fluid and solid), shampoo and mosquito repellant spray.”
“We want planting bamboo as much as possible. Only then the climate change can be remedied within a short time. Now we are conducting the training course to the bamboo enthusiasts regarding the commercial value of bamboo. Now it has been experimenting to produce bamboo distilled liquid, bamboo vinegar and bamboo sour sauce by the process of liquefying the vapour emitted from burning the bamboo for charcoal. It needs small investment for raw materials such as bamboos and installing the device for producing the distilled fluid from bamboo. If two long mature bamboos with more than 5 years of age are cut into some segments and distilled, 5 liters of distilled fluid will be produced. It will cost you about Ks. 100,000. A liter of bamboo distilled water can fetch Ks.10,000. Bamboo charcoal and ash will also be obtained as by products” said U Win Kyaw Oo, the president of the Bamboo Growing Association.
“Besides, the distilled liquid 1 liter is used as pesticide after mixing with 400 to 600 liters of water. It is also used as plant tonic and root tonic and it has deterring effect to pests and insects harmful to the plants. As an instance it is used as sprays on the onion field in Chin State. It helps the onions grow bigger and sweeter.
Then, it is known that it has properties to wipe out the dandruff and fleas of the head scalp and make the hairs soft when it is used after mixing proportionately with shampoo. It is also used in mosquito spray without any harm to children. It can also kill the fleas of the animals.” added the president.
The usefulness of bamboo is very extensive. Nowadays, it is found that supermarkets are offering the attractive price in buying the bamboo charcoal.
One of the properties of bamboo charcoal is being able to absorb the foul smell and to produce an air-freshener effect, and it can also prevent from radiation of radioactive minerals. Besides, it can mitigate the unnecessary content of minerals in the body if the water is passed through it in the small scale water purifying machine. According to the president if the fish is grilled with bamboo charcoal, the grilled fish can cure the cancer.
Among the bamboo lovers, bamboos are figuratively called as “green coloured gold”.
Now, the forests are being depleted and fast- growing bamboos are the most suitable for quick reforestation.
Therefore, bamboo is the most profitable for growers if it is grown and used in commercial sense. Now it is the time for bamboo lovers and those who want to grow bamboos to get united and enhance the use of bamboos for the better socioeconomic condition of the people. (Translated by U Khin Maung Win)