Amrita University joins Indo-Canada Collaboration on Municipal Wastewater Treatment

Rivers and similar surface waters in India are highly polluted owing to direct discharge of wastewater without adequate treatment. Untreated industrial effluents contain harmful pathogens, heavy metals and agricultural runoff consisting of nutrients, pesticides, antibiotics and other harmful products.

Efforts to ensure the availability of safe drinking water, sustainable infrastructure and good public health practices are complex global issues that require multiple stakeholders and scientific disciplines to generate solutions that are cost-effective and sustainable. Canada and India share strong bilateral ties, including a well-established history of research collaborations. At the same time, India’s government has made public-private partnerships a priority to deal with an infrastructure deficit that compromises public health and economic growth. This opens opportunities for technology sharing, professional development and partnerships with Canada.

Amrita University has had partnered with the India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS) to develop and implement community-based solutions to meet the most urgent needs of Canada and India: poor water quality, unsafe and unsustainable infrastructure, and poor health from waterborne and infectious diseases. The collaboration is to develop and test local solutions that can be scaled up across India and Canada. 

About the Project

This project will develop a charcoal based system to remove pathogens, heavy metals and some organic compounds from wastewater followed by floodplain filtration with the help of plants and microbes. Charcoal will be produced using different agro-waste and locally available cheap biomass, feedstock such as rice husk, bamboo, coconut shell, etc. The project grant is a collaborative effort between five universities in Canada and India: McGill University(Canada), University of Guelph(Canada), Lovely Professional University(India), Indian Agriculture Research Institute (India) and Amrita University(India). Inspired by the Chancellor of Amrita University, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, and her initiatives to address the sanitation problems in India with numerous projects for building toilets across the country, scientists at the Sanitation Biotechnology Lab at Amrita University, led by Dr. Bipin G. NairDr. Sanjay Pal & Mr. Ajith Madhavan, will be utilising their expertise with bacteriophages and biofilms, as well as Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), to reduce bacterial contamination and pollution load. 

Amrita Salim, Junior Research Fellow, Amrita School of BiotechnologyStudent Training

Amrita Salim, Junior Research Fellow (JRF), School of Biotechnology, Amrita University, working in the Sanitation Biotechnology Lab on Re-invent the toilet challenge (RTTC) project, has been invited for the IC-IMPACTS Summer Institute, in Canada. It is an annual program inviting only fifty Canadian and Indian graduate students with skills in research, innovation, commercialization, and leadership. The 2016 Summer Institute will be a week long program held in Edmonton, Canada and will focus on Nanotechnology in the areas of infrastructure, water, and health. Students accepted to attend will have their flights and accommodation covered, and will receive a certificate of completion.

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