Messe München through The IFAT Brand has three shows for the environmental sector: IFAT in Munich which is the world’s largest environmental technology trade fair, IE expo in China and IFAT in India.
Gerhard Gerritzen, Deputy Managing Director – Messe München GmbH & Georg Moller, Exhibition Group Director – Messe München GmbH speak about the evolving scenario for environmental technologies and services in India. Interview by Sandeep Menezes.
Excerpts from the interview:
With the huge growth happening across the Asian region, do you feel in next few years IE Expo China and IFAT India will be bigger than your Munich event?
Moller: Currently there is a little problem with the Indian economy. Next year there are elections in India, and then the new government can take new decisions. In environmental technologies section, it is important that the government gives new legislation so that this section can go up.
It is the same situation which was prevailing in Germany around 30 years ago – then we had the first environmental ministry. We also got new rules and legislation – then this section was growing rapidly.
Last edition (IFAT Munich 2012) witnessed 53 exhibitors from Asia. Out of this, China – 30, India – 2, Japan – 12, Taiwan – 5, South Korea – 3 and Indonesia – 1. In terms of visitors, there were 589 Chinese and 447 Indian visitors out of the total 2686 visitors from Asia.
We started in 2004 with our first show in China that had around 100 exhibitors – this is the current scenario in India. At the moment our China show has more than 800 exhibitors. We think the market is ready for such a show in India.
How is the forthcoming edition of IFAT Munich going to be different vis-à-vis earlier years?
Moller: IFAT Munich is very huge at the moment. We have many live demonstrations in Munich – it is helpful and many visitors like to see how machines are actually working.
Although the Germany is an exception, the EU is not witnessing economic growth. Did these challenging economic conditions pose any hurdles to organizing a huge show like IFAT Munich?
Moller: We believe that IFAT Munich is an international show. A lot of companies from abroad will come to Munich knowing that they will meet many international visitors. We don’t only have German visitors. Last edition witnessed nearly 40 per cent of visitors coming in from abroad.
How can events such as IFAT assist to improve the water, wastewater scenario in India?
Gerritzen: India’s major metropolises are constantly growing, as is the need for fresh water. At the same time, the water table is sinking. In addition, India does not have something that is standard in most European cities: a well-built water supply network. Some 97 million people in India do not have access to drinking water, and approximately 70 per cent of the population does not have access to modern sanitary facilities. According to the GTAI report, there is an urgent need for action in this area.
Increasing urbanization and greater environmental consciousness in India are leading to a growing demand for modern environmental technologies and services which in return would result in large investments to develop and upgrade the environmental services.
IFAT INDIA brings together user and supplier both national and international from the water waste water and waste management industry in India all under one roof. Industry can benefit by the latest technologies and services that are displayed for the environmental sector all under one roof. It gives access to further strengthen and enhance the relationship with new and existing customers.
What are your expectations from IFAT India vis-à-vis the original edition held in Munich?
Gerritzen: IFAT was launched in 1966 in Munich, Germany. Since its first edition in 1966, IFAT has been growing from strength to strength with 151 exhibitors to 2,939 in 2012 breaking all records. This is a good evidence that not only has the show grown in size but has also been adaptable to the market needs.
With IFAT India getting a perfect start, we are sure in the forthcoming years, IFAT India will grow in terms of the exhibition space, number of exhibitors and visitors. It will also add more segments as per the Indian market needs in the future.
Due to the stringent wastewater discharge requirements in India, many MSMEs are turning to specialist companies for sustainable solutions. Going forward, how do you foresee the scenario?
Gerritzen: Water pollution is a major concern today. Water recycling is the only means through which the huge demand for water can be fulfilled in India. The government of India has now mandated many industry sectors and has levied strict norms with regards to wastewater discharge. The companies are now hiring many specialists for sustainable solutions. Going forward it will only increase as the wastewater issue is a serious one.