TOI about his thoughts on bioplastics and solutions to address plastic garbage issue.
What is the future of bioplastics?
Each one of us has enjoyed the convenience provided by plastics. However, the world has woken up to the fact that current plastic production and disposal practices are not sustainable. Broadly speaking, bioplastics are plastics derived from biobased resources and therefore contain renewable carbon, unlike the current plastics that are made from fossil-based carbon. The growth of global bioplastics production in the next five years is projected to at least triple the current levels, showing the importance and interest in bioplastics. In the future, bioplastic will be used as an essential tool to defossilize current materials.
You have successfully cast your vote
Plastic waste has become an international problem, how can your research address that?
Today nine billion tonnes of plastic waste have been accumulated globally – this means that every person created one ton of plastic waste, on average. These wastes also led to micro-plastics (
First: Biodegradable plastics– we are developing biodegradable formulations for single-use applications. Biodegradable plastics are best options for contaminated and mixed packaging that are hard to recycle.
Second: Recycled plastics for new durable applications. This approach diverts plastics from landfill. Third: Improved design– we design materials to use less plastic.
What is your advice for the new generation to conduct quality research?
Find a question that you really care about and find a supportive mentor. My advice is to keep your motivation in finding the right solution to the most critical problem. Seek solutions across disciplines. The future belongs to you.
Do you have any plan to contribute towards the academic development of educational institutions in Odisha?
I grew up in Odisha, received my education in Odisha, and started my academic career in Odisha. The deep connection is rooted in my heart. In fact, I have been actively involved in talks with the senior administrators of some universities in Odisha to help establish more research-intensive programmes in chemical science and technology. I am honoured to be able to help with connecting with internationally recognized researchers and fostering programs to advance a culture of world-class education and research right in Odisha.
What is your reaction after getting an award from your state government?
Receiving this award made me feel very humbled and truly honoured. I got several prestigious awards but receiving the Biju Patnaik Award for Scientific Excellence means a lot to me. This is very special because he was a supporter of both the people and science. He has established the international Kalinga Prize for popularization of Science and Technology. Biju Patnaik is one of my role models.