Professors to pioneer water research

Pujan Dahal

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In response to clean water complaints, the Ouachita Parish Police Jury and ULM are collaborating to conduct ‘clean water research’.

Water purification can be very expensive, so the research will look into natural purification through wetland. The research will focus on using native Louisiana plants to soak up pollutants, which would be cheap and long-lasting.

Joydeep Bhattacharjee is coordinating the research and said the project is in the initial stage of team formation and planning. According to Bhattacharjee, this research will be a pioneer of the field.

“This is going to be a model system. Whatever we learn out of this system can be applied to other areas as well,” Bhattacharjee, associate biology professor, said.

Bhattacharjee also said he expects the project to be beneficial to near-by communities.

“The project will minimize the cost of purification and impact everyone’s life,” he said.

There will be various schools and educational institutions which will take part in the project. He said at least three undergraduates and two graduates will be selected to work on the project.

Ouachita Parish schools will be involved in the project as well. Bhattacharjee, who is a proponent of hands-on education for children at an early stage, said the project should allow elementary students to get involved.

“We will be building an outdoor lab where the area school children can come and look at the system of purification,” Bhattacharjee said.

Siddhartha Dhakal, a junior biology major works in a lab run by Bhatacharjee. He said he thinks the clean water project is a necessity, especially in Louisiana.

“We frequently hear news regarding pollution in water of Louisiana, which is a source of intense fear and concern amongst people. So it is important to address this issue as soon as possible, and make everyone feel safe,” said Dhakal.

Dhakal also said the project can be a great opportunity for students who share deep concerns for the environment.

“Interested students can get hands-on experience on large-scale water purification techniques and, at the same time, make a difference,” Dhakal said.

The project will greatly engage the community and allow participants to collaborate with people from a wide range of disciplines, according to Dhakal.

“It will be (an) interactive, engaging and fun experience,” Dhakal said.

Bhattacharjee said the team is looking for more partners.