‘People’s mindset, not technology, can only solve water pollution problem’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 04 Jul 2018 10:20:40


By Rajendra Diwe,

“INDIA does not need sophisticated technologies or modern infrastructure to tackle the problem of growing water pollution. The country requires mindset change of its own people to curb the problem. This can be achieved through public awareness, education and social awakening,” said Archis Ramesh Ambulkar, city’s own internationally renowned water specialist.

Born and brought up in Nagpur, Ambulkar is now an environmental engineer in Ohio, USA. He did his schooling at CP & Berar School, HSC from Dharampeth Science College in 1997 and B Tech Chemical Engineering from Laxminarayan Institute of Technology in 1999.
He joined National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and went to United States to pursue MS in Environmental Engineering from Bucknell, University, Pennsylvania in 2003.

Comparing the issue of waste water treatment or sewage treatment in developed world with India, Ambulkar mentioned that experts should understand the ground realities in developing and developed world.

“In Western world, awareness about environmental protection is much more than in India. Citizens in those countries respect nature and environment. Also the regulations are very strict and punishment stringent. This is not the case in India. Here, water bodies like rivers, lakes, wells, ponds etc. are more polluted.

“You may bring number of sophisticated technologies to address the issue but unless and until you change the attitude of society, wastewater treatment will not be successful in India”, added the author of “Guidance for Professional Development in Drinking Water and Wastewater Industry” published by International Water Association (IWA), United Kingdom.

Ambulkar elaborated, “Water treatment means removal of impurities from waste water or sewage before they reach aquifers or natural water bodies such as rivers, lakes, estuaries and oceans. Now-a-days, nature is lacking pure and safe drinking water, therefore, the distinction between clean water and polluted water depends on the type and concentration of impurities found in the water as well as on its intended use.

Water is said to be polluted when it contains enough impurities to make it unfit for a particular use such as drinking, swimming or fishing. Although water quality is affected by natural conditions, water pollution usually implies human activity as the source of contamination,” he said.

Ambulkar, whose contributions have featured in the Oxford University’s Research Encyclopedia and the prestigious Encyclopaedia Britannica, said water pollution is caused primarily by the drainage of contaminated waste water into surface water or ground water. Waste water treatment is a major element of water pollution control, he felt.
“Time has come for each Indian to think what are we going to give to our next generation. The main purpose of controlling environmental or water pollution is to make next generation happy and we have to emerge as a role model for the next generation in terms of pollution control,” he appealed.

‘Archis’, which in Sanskrit means first ray of light, has certainly become a ray of hope on waste water management in many countries. He has served on the editorial boards of many prominent journals and technical publications from USA, Canada and United Kingdom. With an extensive experience and significant impact on the water and wastewater fields, Ambulkar has gained the reputation of a leading International Environmental expert.
Ambulkar explained simple techniques to solve the issue of water pollution. “Plantation of trees on roadsides will increase the quantity of ground water level and plantation of trees on the banks of rivers will help decrease the percentage of fertilisers, chemicals or other salts entering river water.”

Emphasising on community contribution in combating environmental pollution, Ambulkar cited the example of the USA’s ‘Adopt a Mile’ scheme.

“Under this scheme, residents, industry houses or institutions take responsibility of cleanliness of a particular distance of road, locality, river or any water body. This can be done in India too. People should come forward and take responsibility of maintenance of specific area. In addition, educational institutions should organise public awareness programme on monthly or weekly basis to address the issue of environmental pollution”, concluded Ambulkar, an expert reviewer for Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) reports.