Two days international Indo-US bilateral virtual workshop, “Water and Air Research Initiative for Societal Health” (WaARISH 2021), concluded

A platform to highlight research outcomes and sustainable development initiatives by eminent experts from different countries

Chennai, August 30: The Indo-US bilateral international virtual workshop, “Water and Air Research Initiative for Societal Health (WaARISH 2021)”, was hosted by SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Kattankulathur, on 24th and 25th August 2021. The event’s chief guest was Dr Nandini Kannan, Executive Director, Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF). The guest of honour was Prof. Chittaranjan Ray, Director, Nebraska Water Center Nebraska, USA. The IUSSTF has sponsored the workshop as part of its mission of providing platforms for highlighting research outcomes and sustainable development initiatives by the brightest minds of the two countries. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, Nebraska – USA, were SRMIST’s collaborative partners.

The workshop included a series of keynote lectures from professors of international repute from esteemed institutions in India and the USA, such as IIT-Kanpur, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of California – Riverside and the Idaho Water Resources Institute.

Prof. Jay Gan highlighted the importance of studying “contaminants of emerging concern” and their assimilation into plants. Prof. S.N. Tripathi detailed the air quality in India during the COVID pandemic and the research efforts made by his team to aid in the implementation of the Indian National Clean Air Program. Prof. Karrie Weber discussed the groundwater concentrations of nitrates and uranium in Nebraska and the geochemistry of uranium. In their keynote lectures, Professors Shannon Bartelt-Hunt, Jesse Bell and Alan Kolok spoke about how a better understanding of the various aspects of the water-climate-public health nexus is necessary to preserve societal health. Prof. Daniel Snow of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Convener – USA) elucidated the need for sensitivity in the analysis of environmental samples and how new instrumentation may provide a level of sensitivity never-before-realized.

Dr. Paromita Chakraborty of SRM Institute of Science and Technology (Convener – India), spoke at length about how cost-effective early signaling of COVID19 virus through wastewater-based epidemiology can be used to identify clusters of infections among the population and better orient India’s pandemic management efforts.

The keynote lectures were followed by a series of invited talks from eminent experts from India & the USA in the fields of water science, atmospheric pollution and public health. Few of the topics covered by the invited speakers included sustainable wastewater treatment solutions for rural India, black carbon, perchlorate and arsenic contamination of water and many more. Another highlight of the event was the lecture session by early career researchers and young scientists.

After the conclusion of the talks, the prize winners of the e-poster presentation conducted on the first day were announced in the valedictory session. A total of 6 prizes were awarded for e-posters in the water, air and health categories. The event concluded with Prof. Daniel Snow (Convener – USA) unveiling the approval for publication of a special issue of the workshop’s research works in the Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry journal of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

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