Society of Dyers and Colourists Education Charity Commemorates “World Environment Day 2021” with its International Webinar on “SUSTAINABILITY OF POLYMERIC MATERIALS – PLASTICS AND TEXTILES” on 5th June 2021 5:30 PM IST online through MS Teams.

Speaker for the “Expert Talk”: DR. VIJAY G. HABBU (CCOL. FSDC)

About the Speaker: Dr. Vijay G. Habbu got his BSc (Hons.) Distinction, B.Sc.Tech (Gold Medal) from UDCT in Textiles, M.Sc.Tech (Gold Medal) from UDCT (now named ICT) in Fibre Science, Diploma in Management (DBM), PhD from the Univ. of Leeds (UK) for his studies on high performance polymers. He also has been awarded the Degrees of C.Col. (Chartered Colourist) and FSDC (Fellow of the Society of Dyers and Colourists), UK. He then went to the Univ. of Illinois (USA) for his post-doctoral research in advanced polymers and materials. He returned to India in 1990 and was a Senior Scientist at the National Chemical Laboratory (Pune), heading the Polymer Processing Section. Dr. Habbu has been with Reliance since 1994. He was leading the Research & Technology of Polyester until 2015. Presently, he is involved with various other Industrial bodies and associations as a Consultant for disseminating and establishing scientific understanding of PET/Plastics and mentoring activities on Sustainability and Circular Economy of Plastics. He is also a part of expert groups in various Governmental bodies, such as: Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC), Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Maharashtra Govt.’s expert group on Plastics. He is an Adjunct Professor at Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Mumbai. He also teaches Polymer Science at various other Universities and is an examiner for PhD. He is familiar with 8 languages and likes the Bhagwad Geeta and other Indian texts. His other studies include the relation of Science and Civilization.

About the topic and the session:

Every few years we see at least one scientific or technological topic occupying public mind-space, conversations, debates, etc. For example, Nuclear energy, GM crops, Climate Change. Most of these discussions start from some NGOs flagging off areas of concern and then it degenerates into big noise, in which calm discussions, correct science, a balance of views, is lost.

Similarly, in the last few years, we are seeing a global concern around the Pollution of Plastics and that of Microfibres/microplastics. Following the same path of noise, we are left in a confused state – on the one hand we see plastics everywhere in our lives, doing the most precious job of saving lives and on the other hand, the gory pictures of litter and plastics being eaten by animals. Same about Textiles – one of the basic needs of humans, but now being questioned for the release of microfibres that come into our food chain.

So, what is the truth? What exactly are plastics, the new age materials? Why have they been adopted by humans to such a large scale? In what ways have they become important for industry, economy, and employment? Yet, can we deny the pollution? What about Textiles and their circular economy?

What are the ways to manage their waste and strike a good balance of their continued use and prevention of abuse of Mother earth? What is the role of science and educational institutes?  What opportunities of sustainable earnings does this debate provide to youngsters and established businesses alike? Dr. Habbu shared great insights on these important aspects of SUSTAINABILITY OF POLYMERIC MATERIALS. The following points were elaborated:

Meaning of Sustainability; Definition of Polymers and its historical relevance across the timeline; types and classes of polymers and plastics, their synthesis and conversion processes, their applications particularly in their use for making products that help us to fight against COVID-19. Concepts of sustainability and circular economy; 5 Rs, Green production, Extended Producer Responsibility, Types of recycling systems, Global regulations on recycling plastics, Viable alternatives to plastics that are Functionally Equivalent, Cost effective, Environmentally benign (lesser eco-footprint), Safe and Scalable; Role of Sustainable Apparel Coalition; Circular value chains, Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW).

The call was for polymer R&D and academicians to lead, and work collaboratively with industry, social scientists, product designers, microbiologists, in a concerted manner to have a comprehensive framework to address sustainability issues with reference to biopolymers (oil-depletion vs land blocking), Oxodegradation (formation of microplastics), biodegradability, (disintegration vs elemental transformation), bio-composting (off gases). “Research should not be what can be done? but what needs to be done?”. Some global endeavours making a difference to sustainability were briefly highlighted.

The wonderful explanation by Dr. Habbu was then followed with an interactive Q&A and small fun-filled Kahoot quiz. Participants received certificates of participation for this event. A formal Vote of Thanks was delivered acknowledging the lucid, impeccable and wonderful explanation delivered by Dr. Vijay G. Habbu. SDC EC expresses deep gratitude to all the luminaries present for the session from the field of Textile and Polymer Science (Academia and Industry), students and faculty from different institutes and all 100 participants present for the event. The event would not have been possible without the teamwork by the SDC EC India Team including Dr. G. Nadiger Vice Chairman SDC EC and Dr. Sivaramakumar Pariti Chairman SDC EC. And last but not the least the Sponsors of the SDC EC Events AMA Herbal Group Companies, Britacel Silicones Ltd., Archroma Ltd., Ion Exchange (I) Ltd and Dr. JD with whose support the program became successful, marking the World Environment Day 2021 with theme Reimagine Recreate and Restore. With this we created another memorable interactive program as a tribute to the world of science, environment and polymers.

-DR. VISHAKA ASHISH KARNAD (CTEXT.FTI)                               

Associate Professor, College of Home Science, Nirmala Niketan

Honorary Secretary, SDC EC & Hon. Secretary “Textiles” SIG TI

Glimpses of the Event with Dr. Habbu and his presentation: