Global Green Chemistry Initiative: Awareness Raising Workshop in Colombo, Sri Lanka

Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 4, 2018 - The National Centre for Cleaner Production – Sri Lanka hosted a one-day Awareness Raising Workshop on Green Chemistry in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The event is part of the Yale-UNIDO Global Green Chemistry Initiative to increase the general global awareness and capacities on deployable Green Chemistry. The project is funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF). The workshop was the fourth in a series of workshops and was uniquely customized to introduce Green Chemistry to stakeholders who are interested in the design of products and processes that advance global sustainability. Green Chemistry is the design of products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances.

The event was attended by 110 representatives from industry, academia, non-profits, and government. The workshop was opened with by Mr. Gamini Gunasekera, Chairman of the NCPC Sri Lanka, and by Dr. Philip Coish from the Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering at Yale who highlighted the mission and activities of the Yale-UNIDO Global Green Chemistry Initiative. The welcome was followed with the workshop led by Mr. Nitesh Mehta, Co-Founder & Director of Green ChemisTree Foundation in Mumbai, India. The Awareness Raising Workshop consisted of four modules:

  1. Introduction: Chemicals in the Society - In first module, Mr. Mehta highlighted the importance of the chemical industry in everyday life and showed how its development is closely linked to the changes in the global society and economics.
  2. Fundamentals of Green Chemistry - In the second module, Mr. Mehta discussed the 12 Principles that define Green Chemistry as a field. The 12 Principles of Green Chemistry consist of guidelines for chemists to design chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the generation and use of hazardous substances.
  3. Areas of Research in Green Chemistry - In the afternoon module, Mr. Mehta discussed the various areas of current research in the field of Green Chemistry and highlighted the advances in technologies related to chemical feedstock, catalysis, solvents, and waste
  4. Partner Content - The last module showcased the efforts of entrepreneurs from Sri Lanka. Two case studies were presented at the workshop. A water-based wood coating that is intended to replace traditional, chemical-solvent-based products was presented by Mr. Kaushalya Kotawage, Sustainability Manager, JAT Holdings Ltd. The application of eco-friendly “Fountain Chemical” within the print industry was presented by Mr. Janaka Rathnakumara, Chief Operating Officer of Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.

The workshop was closed by Professor Jagath Premachandra who highlighted green chemistry as a powerful tool for sustainable industrial development, and the potential of green chemistry and green engineering for local industries.

This event will be followed by a 5-day workshop where the Yale team and a Green Chemistry expert will train Sri Lankan facilitators to further disseminate green chemistry.