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Future Outlook of Green Chemistry

Mamta Singh


Chemistry brought about medical revolution till about the middle of 20th century in which drugs and antibiotics were discovered. The world’s food supply also increased immensely due to the innovation of hybrid varieties, enhanced methods of agriculture, better seeds, and use of herbicides, fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides. The quality of life on earth became much better due to the discovery of dyes, plastics, cosmetics and other materials. Soon, the ill effects of chemistry also became pronounced, main among them being the pollution of land, water and atmosphere. This is caused mainly due to the effects of by-products of chemistry industries, which are being discharged into the air, rivers/ oceans and the land. The hazardous waste released additions to the problem. The use of toxic reactants and reagents also make the situation worse. The pollution reached such levels that different governments made laws to minimize it. This marked the beginning of Green Chemistry by the middle of 29th century. Green Chemistry is defined as environmentally benign chemistry. The synthetic schemes are designed in such a way that there is least pollution to the environment. As on today, maximum pollution to the environment is caused by numerous chemical industries. The cost involved in the disposal of the waste products is also enormous. Therefore, attempts have been made to design synthesis for manufacturing processes in such a way that the waste products are minimum, they have no effect on the environment and their disposal is convenient. For carrying out reactions it is necessary that the starting materials, solvents and catalysts should be carefully chosen. For example, Benzene (C6H6) as a solvent must be avoided at any cost since it is carcinogenic in nature. If possible, it is best to carry out reactions in the aqueous phase. With this view in mind, synthesis methods should be designed in such a way that the starting materials are consumed to the maximum extant in the final product. The reaction should also not generate any toxic by-products.

Keywords: chemical education, environmental objectives, hazardous wastes, safer chemicals

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