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International experts get together to solve the problem of solutions

Panaji: Environmental Geotechnics (EG), is an engineering philosophy which facilitates incorporation of the influence of environmental effects, eitherman-made or natural, on conventional geotechnical engineering practices. One such brain-storming international session was held at Goa, which was sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology, Governnment of India and was organised by the Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Bombay. About 100 people from all over the world and from all walks of life, be it scientists, enviornmentalists, doctors, researchers, engineers etc attended this programme.
Dr. Devenedra Narayan Singh, Institute Chair Professor, Department of Civil Engineering of Geotechnical Engineering Division, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, told Herald, “It is an initiative to make people aware of their environment, energy and overall issues like over urbanisationisation and industrialisation etc so that newer, cheaper, healthier and more sustainable methods can be adopted for and by the people.”
This new concept is gaining significant attention of engineers, researchers, industrialists and planners due to rapid and uncontrolled urbanisation and industrialisation, which yields a huge amount of hazardous and toxic waste, and necessitates invention of neo-construction materials.
This study is a blend of geotechnical and environmental engineering and basically deals with issues related to safe disposal and handling of the waste, estimation of its spread and fate in the subsurface, methods to contain its spread in the subsurface and development of schemes for remediation of the contaminated land. It also encompasses safe transportation and disposal, and development of suitable strategy for the proper utilisation of the waste for sustainable development.
“This is a place where people have come from multi-discipline from different background under one banner which is Environmental geotechniques. It has number of applications. I work in the field of energy, which is very important issue for India now and this technic (geotechnical) can help in the field of geothermal area. We are a slow starter but a huge amount of work can be done. We all need a trigger to start this and it can only be done if a cross section of experts come together. Any research which has no commercial value is a waste,” said Dr RR Sonde, Executive Vice President, RD Aga Research, Technology and Innovation Center, Pune.
The brain-storming session was attended by, top researchers, faculty members from various IITs, NITs, engineering colleges, industries, research organisations and NGOs. Experts from USA, Canada, Australia, Russia, France and UK also participated in this activity.
Prof Anath, former Director of IIT Madras, now a visiting professor at IIT Bombay said, “One of the biggest problems in research is the choosing the problem to work on because even it is a trivial problem, it requires all effort, energy and resources. If the research is well directed then it has double benefit. In applied research, the ultimate result of the research is used to pick up the problem and this can only be done when there is a mix of minds from different disciplines. Now we have a good say in the Department of Science and Technology and Department of Bio-Technology as both these organisation are very well organised and at the end of such conferences a recommendation can be sent to the departments concerned.”
Distinguished Professor Suresh K Bhargava from Melbourne, Australia who was also in the Board of Directors of Aditya Birla Group in Australia, while talking to Herald said, “This kind of conference on sustainability was actually missing in India. There are a plethora of people from different fields and it is truly inter-disciplinary and the first task of this meet is to solve the problem with inter-disciplinary approach is happening in this conference which is unique. Theoretical answers are now being translated into real solutions in this conference. We will surely take it forward and India needs solutions. Like in Goa we have problems in mining, tourism, drugs. We need to find out the solutions which are simple, cheap and without involvement of rocket science of these problems locally in Goa. This conference is doing exactly this.”   [H]

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