AIR, WATER, SOIL: ENGINEERING COLLEGES AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Careers 360|September 2020
State engineering colleges are working to address environmental challenges in their backyards.
Atul Krishna

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted serious questions about priorities. A happy side -effect of the pandemic was that, with crores of people quarantined in their homes, air pollution levels dropped dramatically. Multiple surveys from different countries have revealed that people prefer to live in a cleaner environment and are willing to give up certain conveniences for that.

Most ideas floated to achieve to sustainable living involve technological solutions. But as the rest slowly realise that a cleaner, sustainable living is possible, engineers have already put years of research to achieve this goal.

Engineering colleges across the country have been working on water, solid waste management, air and other types of pollution. Some have focused on making water drinkable, others have dedicated time and resources to the study of air pollutants and why we should be looking to scale up our measurement of pollution.

Engineering and Environment

“One of the focus areas is on water treatment,” said Amit Dutta, professor at the Department of Civil Engineering in Jadavpur University, West Bengal. “In our area, the amount of arsenic in drinking water is a major problem. We have worked with University of California Berkeley on several arsenic mitigation projects.”

The result of one of these projects is installed in a higher secondary school in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. Apart from arsenic mitigation projects, the department has focussed projects on solid waste management and air pollution.

“Regarding solid waste management we have done very good work. We have developed a programme for integrated solid waste management which also utilises life cycle impact assessment of the materials,” said Dutta. Life cycle impact assessment measures a material’s impact on environment, climate, biodiversity and human health.

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