04th May 2010, www.dailynews.lk, By Ramani Kangaraarachchi
Sri Lanka can look forward to manufacturing its own nano titanium dioxide from Pulmoddai mineral sands deposits.
It is important that everyone understands the growing importance of nanotechnology to the economy as well as take adequate precautions to run nano-integrated manufacturing facilities responsibly, Sri Lanka Institute of Nano Technology Director Prof Ajith de Alwis said.
Prof Alwis was the keynote speaker at the symposium to commemorate ‘World Day for Safety and Health at Work’ at Galadari Hotel on Monday.
He said nanotechnology enables Sri Lanka to move away from the current commodity mind-set offering an avenue in adding real value into operations.
He said various forms of nanotechnology applications to textiles, communications, sports, food and drink, health and to defence sectors were given. The wide spectrum also indicates the potential diversity of workplaces and the need to understand issues in a wider context as all possibilities are not known, Prof Alwis said.
However, there is a huge knowledge gap between advances in the application of nanotechnology and its impact on health.
Nanotechnology is identified as a key technology and the need for awareness and the need to integrate these concepts in manufacturing is very vital.
It is expected that by 2020 around 20 percent of all goods manufactured around the world will be based to some extent on the use of nanotechnology he said.
He said it is an emerging technology and the risks associated with the manufacturing and uses of nanomaterials are largely unknown.
He said the natural processes release nano materials in large quantities to the environment. Current industry practices too release emissions which contain nano materials. Combustion operations such as welding fumes are an example for these.
“But it is quite clear that basic requirements are not met in most of the industrial facilities.
Top management commitment is necessary as well as supporting a preventative approach in managing health and safety issues.
As Sri Lanka has launched the Sri Lanka nanotechnology initiative with the start of Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC) various measures undertaken in ensuring the safety of scientists even at the nano level with special respirator protectors were elaborated.
The need to stick to basics and then to add to these as applicable was a way recommended, he said.