The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur was established in 1958 as Central Public Health Engineering Research Institute (CPHERI), when environmental concerns were limited to human health with a focus on water supply/sewage disposal/ communicable diseases and to some extent on industrial pollution and occupational diseases. The chemical and biological solutions to address these problems were simple, though challenging. However, slowly world wide public awareness on the contamination of environment on regional to global scale started getting attention in 1970’s. Shrimati Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, rechristened the Institute as National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) in the year 1974.
National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur is devoted to research and innovations in environmental science and engineering besides solving a range of problems posed by industry, government and public. It is a constituent of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi and has a nation-wide presence with its five zonal laboratories at Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai. The mandate of NEERI is:
• To conduct research and developmental studies in environmental science and engineering
• To render assistance to the industries of the region, local bodies, etc. in solving the problems of environmental pollution by S&T intervention
• To interact and collaborate with academic and research institutions on environmental science and engineering for mutual benefit
• To participate in CSIR thrust area and mission projects
Thus, the Institute is dedicated to the service of mankind by providing innovative and effective S&T solutions to environmental and natural resource problems by conducting effective R&D programmes in environmental science and engineering essentially comprising:
• Characterization of environmental quality in terms of physical, chemical and biological parameters
• Technologies for prevention and control of air pollution, wastewater and solid waste in terms of their reduction, reuse, recycle, and finally safe disposal
• Innovative approaches to optimal utilization and conservation of environmental resources
NEERI is served by competent and experienced team of about 125 scientists in various core disciplines of relevance to environmental science and engineering, viz. environmental engineering, chemical engineering, environmental chemistry, environmental biology and fourteen other science and engineering disciplines. Professionally competent and highly skilled and experienced technical officers and technicians support the scientific personnel.
The Director, NEERI has a mandate to realize the mission of the Laboratory by leading the high class R&D and S&T activities and seek the advices of Research Council (RC) and Management Council (MC) of the laboratory under the overall supervision of Director General, CSIR. The Research Council has a mandate to advise on the formulation of R&D programmes and future directions for research keeping in view the Five Year Plans, National priorities and opportunity areas besides review of R&D activities and research programmes. The Management Council has a mandate to recommend resource allocation for R&D activities/facilities of the Laboratory besides monitoring of R&D and other activities.
Over the years, the Institute has contributed to the reorientation of environmental policy towards prevention of pollution, developed technologies for substitution of non renewable resource base with renewable resources, recycle and reuse of industrial and domestic wastewater, and conducted environmental impact and risk assessment studies for developmental projects in industrial, mining, nuclear power, thermal power, river valley and urban infrastructure sectors as also the environmental audit of industrial and mining projects.
The Institute has necessary infrastructure and around 500 scientific and technical staff to monitor, analyze and characterize various elements and substances in the environmental samples on a national/regional scale with state of art equipments and methodologies.
Based on the directives from Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, besides Hon’ble High Courts of various States, NEERI has submitted several reports from time to time for resolving various critical environmental disputes/issues concerning industry, ecology and environment.
The Institute has considerable capabilities and experience in the domain of environmental management and at present, the major R&D thrust areas pursued by the Institute include:
• R&D Thrust Areas
– Environmental Monitoring
– Environmental Modelling
– Environmental Biotechnology & Genomics
– Environmental System Design and Optimisation
– Environmental Impact & Risk Assessment
– Environmental Policy
– Central Govt. Ministries/Boards
– State Govt. Ministries/Boards
In the realm of uncertainty and changing regimes of environmental governance, NEERI envisions a futuristic perspective of a formal knowledge organization in terms of providing reliable data, coupled with modeling efforts to mimic the reality, adding its tacit knowledge with a collective perception of work ethic by effective interaction of its scientists and users.
NEERI’S FOCUS AREAS are:
• Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) – VOCs, Monitoring, Health Impacts, Public Awareness and Training.
• Ambient Air Quality (AAQ) – Urban AQ data-bank, inventorization, source apportionment analysis, analytical techniques, cost effective control, conservation of monuments.
• Drinking Water – WQ surveillance and assessment, water treatment, supply and distribution, training for rural sector.
• Water Resources – EIA of river linking projects, artificial recharge of groundwater and aquifers, eco-restoration of lakes and reservoirs, ecological minimum flows, watershed planning, catchment areas treatment, salinity ingress in coastal areas.
• Wastewater - Recycling for zero discharge, color and pathogen removal, treatability studies, and Design or revamping ETPs/STPs/CETPs through innovative solutions.
• Industry - Waste minimization, Recovery and recycling of wastes, Environment and process audit, EIA, Carrying capacity, LCA, Global environmental policies.
• Bio/Phyto Remediation – Reclamation and restoration of degraded lands (mine spoil dumps/tailings, saline soils, etc.), Carbon sequestration applications, Land application of treated sewage, nutrient dynamics.
• Municipal Solid & Hazardous Wastes - Design of landfills and disposal systems, Composting and biomethanation, stabilization.
• Energy security - Biogas systems, Enrichment of methane, Microbial production of hydrogen.
• Health - Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) analysis for delineation of genetic disturbances due to exposures of air pollutants.
With focus on above areas, NEERI endeavors to sustain itself as a pioneer CSIR Laboratory in the field of environmental science and engineering.