This project upgrades the skills of University teaching staff, in particular young faculty and future teachers in China and India, in terms of environmental science specialized in industrial ecology and sustainable development, thereby contributing to improving environmental quality in those countries.
Eco-construction comes at a crucial moment for the Asian Economy and especially for the Chinese and Indian ones. According to most environmental economists worldwide, these countries are completing the process of primitive capital accumulation and are shifting from labor-intensive industrialization to capital-intensive industrialization.
In this phase, countries allow the least investment in environmental protection. Therefore, the environment is in danger of being destroyed.
Wetlands can conserve and purify water resources, prevent flooding and help protect bio-diversity. As well as ecological values, wetlands can also offer economic returns. However, in recent years, many natural wetlands in China and India have become farmland, hunting and fishing grounds or industrial areas. Also indiscriminate tree felling and water pollution have had direct impacts.
The on-going Three Gorges Dam project in China will provide the country with 18.2-gigawatt hydropower in 2009. However, the controversial dam also could prove to be an environmental disaster. Because lack of the basic environmental infrastructures, for many years, tons of wastes from the cities along Yangtze River have been lazily piled up along the banks waiting for being washed away and drifting downstream by the rising water during the annual flood season.
China produces one quarter of the world's garbage. Most of the country's solid waste is buried, taking up land and harming the environment in several ways. Also hazardous industrial production, waste and decontamination are issues that need to be addressed.
By proper application of green engineering technologies, a waste may not necessary have to be a waste; a waste can be considered as a resource. In order to make this a reality, education and knowledge are needed.
This project addressed these problems and provided the target countries with knowledge and best practices to deal with the environmental problems arising from the economic development and to maintaining a dynamic balance between the demands of people for equity, prosperity and quality of life and what is ecologically possible.
This project aspires to promote dissemination of principles about green design and pollution prevention among Chinese and Indian academics, practitioners and LGO officers enabling China and India to improve their own expertise in pollution prevention, green engineering, and environmentally benign products so as to promote sustainable development in these regions. Furthermore, it also promotes intercommunication and information exchange on environmental topic between European and Asian partners and creates a basis for further cooperation.
In the short term, the project helps:
• Chinese and Indian engineers, LGO’s officers, designers and contractors to select and implement sustainable and cost effective remediation in growing number of land and water redevelopment projects and
• Non-Asian engineers and contractors understand the local regulatory framework and needs and seek the relevant information when working in China and India.
Activities and Outputs
The activities of the proposed project focuses on are:
- Exchange and sharing of knowledge, experiences and best practices in the field of sustainable environmental science/engineering particularly contaminated land and/or water remediation, resource recycling, waste management and quality assurance for recycling materials, aquatic and wetland ecology, substance and material flow analysis, life cycle impact assessment in particular for construction material, biodiversity and land use in different dimensions through the Human Resources Exchange.
- Development of a Sandwich PhD program for target Asian countries in mutual interest of European institutions and Asian universities according to the practical need.
- Operation of 4× 5-days intensive training courses in participating European institutions for young faculty members and even some future university teaching staff from Asian Universities thereby fostering transfer of knowledge, experiences and best practices to target groups in participating Asian countries and even to other developing countries in Asia.
- Development of concentrated course materials using updated research progress and teaching methodology originated in top ranked European Institutions and Integration of the course material developed into the ongoing Master of Science program at each participating Asian university within environmental science/engineering, mechanical engineering and/or energy engineering, architecture and/or architectural engineering, civil engineering.
- Transfer of knowledge to target universities in Asia through 3 ×one-week topic-oriented workshops free of charge open for university professors, faculty members, postgraduate students, LGO officials, regulatory bodies, relevant engineers and designers.
- Establishment of close, effective, and sustainable co-operation among teaching staff (young teachers in particular) at the different partner universities through short teaching mission combined with research collaboration in European institutions, thus helping Asian University teaching staff to access to state-of-the-art education and research in the field concerned.
Creation of opportunity for young Asian university teaching staff having access to good practices of European examples in the field of target topics through the arrangement of several technical tours/lab tours and field investigation/visiting. Vice versa, opportunity is also created for European university teaching staff being familiar with Asian examples in the target field.
This project has been of key importance in bringing professionals of different orientations and geographic regions in touch with each other and with their professional areas of expertise.
Among its several accomplishments, this project has made the following specific progress as it concerns UNESCO-IHE’s contribution:
1. The work of the PhDs are now well underway
2. A series of workshops have been held, among others “Waste minimization and environmental geotechnology of disposal in landfills, slurry ponds & old dumps” held at IIT Delhi, India in February 2007 and “From Prevention to BAT" in May 2007 at UNESCO-IHE.
3. Several papers have been either presented at different international conferences or published as is the case with the paper entitled “Modeling Soil Water Extraction by Plants Using Non-Linear Dynamic Root Density Distribution Function” authored by B. K. Yadav and S Mathur, accepted for publication in ASCE’s Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering.