Japanese institute, VIT to study Palar water pollution

Special Correspondent

Research into health issues is a welcome step: Japanese official

Caused by seepage of chromium from discharge of chemical effluents from tanneries Private participation in public health issues a good trend, says Dr. Tokunaga

VELLORE: The National Institute of Health Sciences, Tokyo, Japan and the Vellore Institute of Technology will be undertaking a collaborative research programme to find a solution to the problem of groundwater pollution in the Palar river basin, according to Hiroshi Tokunaga, Director, National Institute of Health Science (NIHS), Tokyo.

This pollution was due to the seepage of chromium caused by discharge of chemical effluents from tanneries in the district.

Inaugurating a two-day national symposium on Recent Trends in Health Science Research organised by the School of Bioengineering and Biosciences at VIT here on Friday, Dr. Tokunaga said research to maintain the good health of people was a welcome step. In many countries this was entirely the responsibility of its government, but such an approach was often unsuccessful, he said. He added that he was glad to see private participation in this endeavour by the VIT. This was a step forward to mitigate the sufferings of people, he said.

Environmental problems

The Director of NIHS said modern civilisation and industrialisation had created many environmental problems. VIT Vice-Chancellor P. Radhakrishnan said health care was the most important issue in India, which had a population of over 100 crore. Even in the VIT, on an average, three to four staff members absented themselves every day due to ill health. The country lost much productivity due to the absence of workers in factories on account of ill health. "Therefore, in the interests of the nation, we have to seriously address health issues", he said.

Dr. Radhakrishnan stressed the need to control the quality of drinking water supplied to the people by the local bodies. This could prevent disease and reduce the burden on hospitals and health care personnel.

He also called upon mental health experts to undertake research to tackle the problem of mental depression among people, especially youngsters. Lazar Mathew, Dean, School of Bioengineering and Biosciences, VIT, stressed the need to prevent environmental pollution in order to ensure good health of the people. Shankar Viswanathan, Pro-Chancellor (Academic), VIT, released the symposium abstract.

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