Industry urged to make sustainable plastics for infrastructure
Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister for Railways, Government of India, underlined the need for developing sustainable infrastructure and creating opportunities for moving to the next level of a sustainable paradigm. The effort should be to grow while preserving the fragile environment. 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' organized by FICCI jointly with the Department of Chemicals & Petrochemicals, Government of India and Organization of Plastics Processors of India (OPPI) in New Delhi on February 23, 2017.
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 realize the real potential of this industry.
Mukesh Malhotra, Co-Chairman, FICCI Chemical industry Cte & Country Manager, Solvay Specilaities, 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 emphasized 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.
Speaking on the use of PVCs, Ravi Ahuja, GM-Marketing, Chemplast Sanmar Ltd., said that the government was focusing on infrastructure development and smart cities which would boost the demand for PVC. However, he pointed out that to meet the present demand, PVC was being imported and with increased demand in the years to come, it was essential to augment the domestic supply.
S B Dangayach, Managing Director, Sintex Industries Ltd., said that as plastics were non-biodegradable, they become a choice for sustainable growth. But there was a need to carry out innovation in this sector, promote value-based marketing and go for solution-centric approach. Greater use of plastics in the construction of road, railway coaches and infrastructure and scaling up of existing work could lead to sustainable development.
Dr. Annapurna Vancheswaran, Senior Director – Sustainable Development Outreach, The Energy and Resources Institute, said that the application of plastics would increase in future. Therefore, there was a need for a behavioral change in people towards plastics and the industry needs to look for ways to use plastics sustainably as we move into the plastic-age.
The session was chaired by Prabh Das, Chairman, FICCI National Petrochemical Committee, MD & CEO – HPCL – Mittal Energy Limited.
Dignitaries releasing the FICCI-Tata Strategic Management Group Knowledge Paper on Plastic Industry for Infrastructure.