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February 13, 2014 5:37 pm

Israel Helping India Clean Polluted Wetlands

avatar by Joshua Levitt

"Israel in India" Facebook page. Photo: Facebook.

A team of Israel scientists arrived in Bhubaneswar, Hubaneswar, India, this week to test a pilot program to use plants to remove pollutants from contaminated soil and water, the Times of India reported on Wednesday.

Eli Cohen, one of the Israeli team members, said, “The technology can be used by municipalities, multi-dwellings units, industries and wetlands for holistic waste-water management.”

The Israelis were invited by the Chilika Development Authority (CDA), which is managing the wetlands at Chilika, to conduct a study about the process, called phytoremediation.

CDA chief executive Ajit Pattnaik said, “We have selected wetlands near the Biju Patnaik Airport for the study. The Odisha Wetlands Development Authority and department of forest and environment along with CDA will help the team promote eco-friendly technology to reduce water pollution.”

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“The phytoremediation method to reduce water contamination involves zero operating costs,” Pattnaik added. “Within the next three months, the state government will run this technology on a pilot basis in urban areas. Based on the results, the plans for implementation will be drawn up.”

Israel’s involvement in supporting modern agriculture in India is part of a stark surge in collaboration between the two countries.

Last September, Israeli Ambassador to India Alon Ushpiz said 29 “Centers of Excellence” would be opened across the country to provide Indian farmers with greater access to Israeli agricultural technology.

In October, Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said that bilateral trade could reach $5 billion in the next five years, if a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries moves forward.

Meanwhile, Tata Industries, the multi-billion-dollar Indian conglomeration, recently invested $5 million to kick-start the Technology Innovation Momentum Fund at Tel Aviv University’s Ramot technology transfer company.

And last week, Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael, two large, Israeli defense manufacturers, were reported to be partnering with two Indian defense technology firms to jointly build an integrated anti-missile system to be deployed against Chinese nuclear and conventional missiles. The Israeli companies will work with the Defense Research and Development Organisation and India’s state-owned Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) on the project.

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