Sri Lanka firms could cut chemical usage by 40-pct: UNIDO

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lankan firms could cut chemical usage and costs by 40 percent and save on water and energy use if they follow best practices, a United Nations Industrial Development Organization specialist said.

“With better management of chemicals, companies can save 40 percent on their chemicals,” UNIDO India Regional Office Representative Rene van Berkel said.

“By doing that, they have associated co-benefits of 25-30 percent of energy savings and 25-30 percent of water savings, because all these chemicals are going into high energy consuming processes or in the water and then discharged.”

The results were found following a study conducted on 12 leading firms in the apparel, rubber and hospitality industries, van Berkel said.

In garments and textiles, chemicals are used in dying, printing and final finishing of fabrics, while in hotels, chemicals are used for cleaning.

The two industries alone contribute over 10 percent to Sri Lanka’s gross domestic product.

Sri Lanka annually imports around 16 million US dollars in organic and inorganic chemicals as well as fertilizer, which is also overused.

Better chemical management would streamline and reduce processes of companies, van Berkel said.

Workplace safety would also improve, he said.

“Less chemical usage means your employees would be less exposed to them,” van Berkel said.

He said UNIDO is now working with the Environment Ministry to place greater emphasis of chemical management on the policy agenda.

UNIDO has also developed an online training agenda which would allow firms to impart basic principles of chemical management to their employees, van Berkel said.

The aim is to now scale up the learnings of 12 companies to all firms across Sri Lanka, he said.
(Colombo/Feb12/2020)