Mumbai: Just a month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden emphasised higher education projects, during the former’s September visit to Washington, US colleges have joined hands with a city college for climate collaboration.
Bronx Community College (BCC) and its parent institute the City University of New York (CUNY), a public university system of NYC, officially instituted a solar-powered weather/air quality monitoring station at DY Patil University in Navi Mumbai on August 3.
This project, which was set up through a grant provided by the US Consulate General in Mumbai, is the first of its kind in a city that has been consistently ranked as one of the most polluted ones in the world.
Led by Neal Philip, Chairperson, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, and Paramita Sen, Lecturer, Earth and Environmental Sciences at BCC, a 23-member faculty and student delegation came down to the Nerul campus in order to interact with students as well as other academicians about the project.
“We collaborated with the US Consulate in Hyderabad last year wherein we covered states such as Telangana, Odisha, etc. Due to this, we initiated a similar project with the Consulate in Mumbai across Western India,” Neal told The Free Press Journal.
Following a solar-powered modular system, the newly installed system can capture regular weather information, temperature, humidity, solar radiation, UV radiation, moisture, air quality, and other things. The information gathered from the device can further be viewed live through an app called Davis WeatherLink.
The newly installed weather/air quality monitoring station at DY Patil University, Nerul. | FPJ
BCC’s aim in doing such projects also signals its commitment to educational collaborations with Indian institutes, according to Paramita.
“Climate change is a huge thing and we are going to fight it in an institutional way. We already installed the station at IIT Goa, and now are going to the University of Ahmedabad in Gujarat next to do the same,” stated Paramita, who added that the New York institute is also planning to make a trip to Pune, Bhopal, and Chhattisgarh in October for climate-related collaborations.
The grant offered by the US Consulate will also help BCC organise a national conference in India or Qatar, wherein different climate-based research papers and collaborations can be explored.
“India has over 1.4 billion people with recent geopolitical shifts between India, China, and the US, leading to the country playing a bigger role in tackling the climate crisis,” asserted Paramita.
The US institute is also looking to partner with India’s famed Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), considering their experience on such projects.
“Back in April, I went to IIT Bombay and was impressed by the work they are doing on sustainable housing, sensors, and more. Considering it has been able to work with the grant provided by the US Department of Energy, we would love to partner with them for many climate safety projects,” stated Neil.
Students, faculty members from City University of New York, BCC, hours before inauguration event. | Special Arrangement
Hailing the initiative and its role in bringing students together, Greg Pardo, Spokesperson, US Consulate Mumbai recalled his own experience of working in India on projects dealing with the environment and development.
“In 2005 when I went to India and travelled to cities such as New Delhi and Ranchi for my studies in urban and rural development, it influenced my career trajectory. Students can build connections through such projects which will help them later in life,” said Greg, who joined the audience at DY Patil University through a video conference.