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University of Chicago Comes up With Novel Solutions for India's Age-Old Problems

News18.com

Last Updated: January 21, 2020, 14:24 IST

Image for Representation.

Image for Representation.

The Tata Centre for Development at the university is working on projects to portray how technology can be used to deal with issues of pollution, labour productivity, education among others.

Tata Centre for Development at the University of Chicago has undertaken several research projects to portray how technology can be used to deal with India’s growing problems of pollution, labour productivity, education and other development-related issues.

In conversation with News18, Supratik Guha, professor at Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, University of Chicago, spoke about how real-time and dynamic monitoring of water pollution can help keep rivers clean.

“Effective river basin management and water policy formulation requires access to reliable and up-to-date data in easy-to-understand formats for timely decision making. We at Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) at University of Chicago and Tata Centre for Development envisioned the Water-to-Cloud (W2C) system for high-resolution spatial and temporal monitoring to gain insights that may be missed with the traditional grab sampling approach. These geo-tagged and time-stamped data can help identify pollution hotspots as well as provide data on violators and efficacy of government sanitation interventions,” he said.

The research project also talks about how people living in the areas concerned need to be made aware of the benefits of clean water.

Meanwhile, Michael Greenstone, Faculty Director at Tata Centre for Development, opined that data transparency and star-rating programme can go a long way in reducing pollution.

Explaining the research, he said, “Making data available with regulators, as well as making it transparent to the public, can lead to improved environmental performance of industrial units concerned. Transparency and disclosure initiatives have been common in the United States, with the Toxic Release Inventory being the most prominent.”

With global temperatures rising, India being a witness to it and labour productivity being inversely proportional to heat levels, Anant Sudarshan, Executive Director (South Asia) for the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, said: “Our research suggests that installing air conditioning or other climate control measures in the workplace mitigates productivity decline but not absenteeism. Industrial plants that have climate control measures in place do not experience any impact on productivity on hot days. However, sustained hot temperatures continue to lead to higher rates of absenteeism.”

first published:January 21, 2020, 14:24 IST
last updated:January 21, 2020, 14:24 IST