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Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has underlined the need for developing sustainable infrastructure and creating opportunities for moving to the next level of a sustainable paradigm. According to the minister, the effort should be to “grow while preserving” the fragile environment. The industry should try and make sustainable plastics for developing infrastructure.
Prabhu was addressing the third National Conference on Plastic Processing focusing on ‘Sustainable Infrastructure with Plastics’ organised by FICCI jointly with the Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals, Government of India and Organisation of Plastics Processors of India (OPPI).
Earlier, in his presentation, Charu Kapoor, Principal – Chemicals, TSMG, said that despite having a good growth potential, the plastic processing industry faces many challenges in terms of environmental myths, lack of advanced technology, limited infrastructure and high volatility in feedstock prices. To overcome these challenges, significant efforts will have to be made by all the stakeholders to realise the real potential of this industry.
Mukesh Malhotra, Co-Chairman, FICCI Chemical Industry Cte & Country Manager, Solvay Specialties, said that plastics will play a major role in three areas — energy efficiency, protection & safety and resource efficiency. With a burgeoning population, efficient use of plastics can help in raising standards of living. However, there was a perception that plastics and chemicals were bad products. This needed to be corrected for encouraging the widespread use of plastics.
Achal Thakkar, President, OPPI & Managing Director, TIPCO Industries Ltd, said that the benefits of plastics in infrastructure were well-known but there were three sectors — transportation, agriculture and clean air, water and energy — where plastics could play a fundamentally significant role. For instance, effective use of plastics in railways can considerably alter the economies of scale resulting in energy efficiency.
Prof Anil Wali, Managing Director, Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer, Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, said that industry-academia partnership was the key to drive innovation in this sector. He emphasised that an open innovative paradigm was needed where industry could engage with research channels and academia. The academia’s novel ideas could be scaled up by the industry to develop sustainable products.