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

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


Chennai : The Indo-US bilateral international virtual workshop, “Water and Air Research Initiative for Societal Health (WaARISH 2021)” organized by SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Kattankulathur on 24th and 25th August 2021. The chief guest of the event was Dr. Nandini Kannan, Executive Director, Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF). The IUSSTF has sponsored the workshop to provide a platform for highlighting research outcomes and sustainability development initiatives by the brightest minds of the two countries. University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, Nebraska – USA were SRMIST’s collaborative partners.

Day 2 of the workshop began with a series of keynote lectures from professors of international repute from esteemed institutions of University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the Idaho Water Resources Institute.

Prof. Jesse E. Bell from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, in his keynote lecture, elaborated how nitrate concentrations in the water of Nebraska, USA is high and development of a water contamination mitigation is intrinsically tied to public health. He summarised that in Nebraska, number of birth defects are increasing and periodic cancers seem to have an association with areas that have high nitrate. He further discussed the natural disasters such as flood, drought, change in environment and addressed the public health solutions.

Prof. Karrie Weber from the School of Biological Sciences in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in her keynote, detailed how groundwater chemistry is a reflection of lithology and life. She discussed the groundwater concentration of nitrates and uranium and the geochemistry of uranium. She concluded that both biotic and abiotic biogeochemical factors play a role in controlling net uranium retention and mobilization in groundwater.

Prof. Alan Kolok of the Idaho Water Resources Institute briefly discussed the geospatial distribution of contaminants in the environment and the ways to determine the location of geographic regions where the risk of environmental concerns is particularly pronounced. He explained how GeoHealth, a rapidly developing field of study, is helping advance our understanding of the complex interactions between the environment, health, well-being and continued progress of humanity.

Prof. Daniel Snow, Director – Water Sciences Laboratory, Nebraska-Lincoln discussed the need for sensitivity in the analysis of environmental samples and how detection limit plays an important role in the environmental analysis. He explained how new instrumentation may provide a level of sensitivity never-before-realized and affect the ability of a laboratory to consistently provide high-quality analytical results. He concluded that environmental laboratory testing methods must be properly developed and validated to demonstrate accuracy and precision at the lowest detectable concentrations.

The keynotes were followed by a series of invited talks from eminent experts in the fields of water science, atmospheric pollution and public health. Few of the topics covered by the invited speakers on the second day included sustainable wastewater treatment solutions for rural India, black carbon, perchlorate and arsenic contamination of water and more.

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

After the conclusion of talks, the prize winners of the e-poster presentation conducted on Day 1 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 of University of Nebraska-Lincoln (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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