The Department of Environmental Sciences, Forman Christian College (A Chartered University), hosted a two-day workshop on 9th and 10th November, 2022 at FCCU for its recent project entitled “Scientific and sustainable application of groundwater treatment technology for safe drinking water supply in Punjab, Pakistan”. This project is funded by the Government of Korea under Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the Government of Pakistan through Economic Affairs Division and Ministry of Science and Technology, Pakistan. This project received a funding of 1.2 million USD for a period of three years from Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) and Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO). For this project, FCCU will be the main implementing institute in Pakistan in collaboration with Dankook University (DKU), South Korea. This is a first of a kind of flagship project on water treatment technology, awarded to a private university with a focus on research and field applications of developed technology to serve the marginalized communities.

The project aims to contribute to the health of Pakistani people from areas which are the worst affected in terms of contamination and lack of safe drinking water supply system. Especially arginalized communities of the Punjab will be benefited from this project by provisioning of safe drinking water and it will be instrumental in achieving agenda 2030 and SDG 6 on clean water and sanitation. The project involves application of groundwater treatment technologies (membrane technology and arsenic removal filters) in selected suburban/rural areas of Punjab, Pakistan. An important element of this project is to establish a “Water Analytical Center” at FCCU housing  state-of-the-art water analysis equipment. This will enhance research and technical capacity of  researchers at FCCU and will serve as a platform for water analysis for academia and the government sector in Pakistan. With scientific research on evaluation of already patented treatment technology and training  of scientific individuals, it will also involve public awareness and training of specific individuals who will operate these plants.

Korean delegation comprised of six people and Korean Ambassador Mr. Sangpyo Suh joined this event. Around 230 participants including researchers, students and individuals from public private organisations registered for this event. Head of the Department of Environmental Sciences Dr. Derk Bakker inaugurated the event followed by an MoU Signing ceremony between FCCU and Dankook University (DKU), South Korea. This MoU was signed to strengthen the collaboration of both institutes for successful implementation of the project elements in Pakistan side. A Korean delegate comprised of six people including Korean Ambassador participated in this workshop.

In the opening speech Dr. Jonathan S. Addleton, the Rector FCCU highlighted the importance of this bilateral relation of Korea and Pakistan under this project and how this grant is significant for FCCU and Pakistan. He appreciated the efforts of Dr. Shinho Chung who is the principal investigator of the project for bridging Korea-Pakistan friendship under this project. The event followed with the technical talks and discussion by experts from Korea and Pakistan. Dr. Shazia Ilyas who is co-principal investigator in this project gave an overview of the drinking water related issues of Pakistan with a focus on Punjab province. Dr. Seoyoon Choi from Korea Invention Promotion Association (KIPA) gave an overview of the Korean ODA projects by MSIT and KIPO. Dr. Seok Dockko professor from partner institute DKU, South Korea presented project overview with its key implementation stages in Pakistan. Mr. Minsoo Park from IPLAB-Korea (a patent firm) presented the selected patent technologies for this particular project. Dr. Sun-Baek Bang from Korea Mine Rehabilitation and Mineral Resources Corporation (KOMIR) presented his work and experience on arsenic removal technologies in Bangladesh. Mr. Dongjin Yang from Glory & Tech Co., Ltd.  a water supply company presented overview of the technologies suitable for Pakistan. On second day of the workshop Korean delegates had fruitful discussion with the stakeholders from Government of the Punjab. Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF), Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), WASA-Lahore, Punjab Aab-e Pak Authority and WWF-Pakistan shared their knowledge and experience on the subject matter and showed their full support for implementation of the project activities especially in field. Korean delegates and researchers from FCCU also visited a village in Kasur where arsenic contamination is affecting local people’s health and well-being.

We look forward having a strong collaboration with our all stakeholders especially government departments to make this project a success story.

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