Udaipur : The pollution level in major rivers across the country would be monitored with the help of duck-shaped hi-tech robots. The union ministry for water resource has ordered to install 17 such robots in the first phase, at industrial towns where major rivers like the Ganga, Yamuna etc pass through. Interestingly, the robots are being developed by a team of four scientists at IIT-Kanpur and Dr.Mangal Kothari one of the co-principal investigator, hails from Jhadol, a remote tribal settlement in Udaipur district. Mangal is presently working as assistant professor in the department of aero-space engineering. ” The cost of each robot is approximately 20 lakh rupees. It has the shape of a duck and its 80 percent body would be submerged in water” Mangal said. The robot would not only collect the data but send complete report of the water quality to the control room through satellite. It will be equipped with tools to assess heavy metals,Chromium, Arsenic, dissolved oxygen, water velocity and Ph value in the water.
According to the scientist, the impact of environmental change on riverine ecosystem requires sustained observations of the river system. Of all ecosystem impacts, the quality of the water is a serious concern as it provides water security to billions of people. In the Indian subcontinent, cleaning and rejuvenating the health of the Ganges river ecosystem is the focal point of all river basin management plans. Currently, the scientific community faces challenges like insufficient skilled man-power for water sample collection and analysis, inadequate time-series resolution (absence of real-time data), absence of integrated data fusion, absence of on demand auto-sampling capability etc. The only way to address these challenges is to develop state-of-the-art in-situ river monitoring observatory that can provide real-time data. Such observatories produce not only high-frequency data that can be used as early warning systems in case of environmental disasters but also entrain local operators in state-of-the-art technology by making them responsible for the operation and maintenance of the sensing and sampling equipment.
“The project aims at designing and developing low-cost, multi-parameter, water quality platforms that would consist of several in-house developed sensors and auto sampling capability for durable and reliable real-time monitoring. The overall objective of this project is to deliver a low-cost, autonomous real-time water quality-monitoring platform with auto-sampling capabilities” the young scientist said. Prof Bishakh Bhattacharya, Indira Shekhar Sen and Ketan Rajawat are other members in the investigating team.