Fleather-An-Indian-Alternative-To-Animal-Leather


SAGAR WATCH I Sachin Jyotishi # 

It was just a few days ago when an incredible controversy arose on Raksha Bandhan on that tweet of 'PETA India', the festival of Raksha Bandhan; In which those people had given absurd advice to be Leather-Free. Apparently, PETA India had to face provocative opposition from the people for this.

If you ask a so-called animal-loving intellectual why you should not use leather, they will be able to preach to you about this subject for years without a break. When a problem is raised without its remedy, there is more harm than benefit.

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But we live in a diverse society where nothing matches our beliefs to thoughts. In such a situation every person has a democratic right to raise any issue without thinking left and right. So going fanatic won’t be plausible. And we need to behave judiciously in these issues.

 Every individual approaches a problem in a different style. Some eyes on the problem or the reason why/how a problem originated (problem-focused thinking). Others stand to think about possible solutions/measures that help them to solve a problem (solution centred thinking)

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The inventive and innovative character of India is an exemplary example of this young practical thinking. Once again we have given an example of this new thinking. We have already astonished the world when, India inserted the world’s fastest, cheapest and perhaps one of the most intricate Mars missions flawlessly into Martian orbit. Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) took three years and Rs 450 crore to complete its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM). The US Maven, which went into orbit on Monday, took six years and cost $679 million (Rs 4,100 crore).

This time an interesting one hits, it’s -“FLEATHER”

Floral waste has discovered new purpose, courtesy Phool.co, an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur-backed biomaterial startup which has innovated ‘fleather’—bio-degradable vegan leather made from unusable discarded temple flowers.

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“FLEATHER” is an expedient alternative to animal leather,” claimed Ankit Agarwal, the co-founder of Phool.co, who was among the 17 young leaders from across the globe shortlisted by the United Nations for its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiative in 2018.

In India, leather is used in countless industries, from fashion apparels to saddlery. India produces 12.9% of the world's hides, which assumes more than 3 billion sq foot per year.

They convert floral waste into charcoal-free incense products. But last year, they decided to unveil the development of animal-free leather. Intrigued by the formation of a leather-like white layer smeared on unused piles of flowers, their R&D team figured out the growth of a micro-organism which used flower petals as a nutritional source,” they said.

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“Leather contains collagen which provides it with strength and durability, whereas fleather has chitin, a kind of protein, that enables it the same characteristics. Collagen and chitin are natural analogues, making fleather a perfect substitute for leather,”  Ankit said.

Prof. Amitabha Bandyopadhyay of the biological sciences and bioengineering department in IIT Kanpur claimed, “Fleather is certainly going to be a game-changer. The fashion industry will surely utilize this vegan leather. I am happy that such a technology was developed at Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre, IIT Kanpur. Fleather was recently awarded by PETA.”  “For a young entrepreneur, this is a remarkable commitment towards nation-building.” Said, prof.

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IIT Kanpur has been Phool.co’s backbone for technical research. The R&D team comprises Sandeep Kumar, MTech (biotechnology) from IIT Kanpur and Saumya Srivastava, MTech (biotechnology) from IIT-Guwahati. The team is led by Nachiket Kuntla, BTech (chemical engineering) from IIT Bombay and MTech (chemical engineering) from IIT Kanpur.

 Ankit said “We adapted the micro-organism to increase the thickness and strength of the fleather and amended its texture to a better version. The tensile strength, elasticity and sheer resistance of fleather is almost matched or is rather way superior to that of traditional leather,” he said. Phool.co was founded by Ankit Agarwal and Prateek Kumar in July 2017.

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There is always hope, even amidst the chaos. Talent doesn’t need wings, it only needs a space to fly. Don’t be a supine critic.  Let us all applaud your solution-oriented approach! Let the world know, we not only make good memes but also good moves to solve the most tangled issues of the world.

Victory! To the Youngistan, Victory! To Bharat! 

Sagar Watch

sagarwatch

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