A Canadian university with several firsts in advanced research is tying up with Medical College and Hospital to undertake a slew of environment projects, including one on purification of arsenic-contaminated water.
As part of the collaboration, the University of Toronto will hand over to the hospital a low-cost device that will separate arsenic from water.
'The device, operated by solar energy, is ready in our laboratory,' said Biswajit Ganguly, director, International Innovation Projects of the university.
Ganguly and Roger Hansell, another director of the project, recently held a meeting with senior hospital officials to decide on the areas of collaboration. 'We are preparing a project report, which will be submitted to the hospital authorities,' Ganguly added.
'We are looking forward to the projects, the details of which are being worked out,' said A.N. Biswas, deputy superintendent of the hospital.
The university ' with an operating budget of $1.107 billion and research grants and contract support totalling $517 million ' is now working on environment-related projects with two Lucknow-based institutes, Central Drug Research Institute and National Botanical Research Institute.
The university has pioneered single-lung and nerve transplants and was the first to develop the electronic heart pacemaker, artificial larynx and artificial pancreas. It has also engineered a gene that allows plants to grow in salty water. Chemical laser and the anti-blackout suit, later modified to create a space suit, are some other contributions of the university's faculty.
Once the water-purification drive is underway, the hospital and the university will take up projects on tackling air and soil pollution.
'We will seek international grant for all these projects. The Canadian International Development Agency, too, will be approached,' said deputy superintendent Biswas.
A student exchange programme is also on the anvil. 'We have proposed to train medical students in new technologies at our university,' said director Ganguly.
Stressing the need for environmental planning to avert natural disasters, Ganguly said: 'Calamities such as mudslides are caused by environmental abuse. Careful planning reduces the risk.'