Study brings together researchers from Iowa and Nepal


A section of the Bagmati River between Lalitpur and Kathmandu. (Sundar1/WikiMedia)
A polluted section of the Bagmati River between Lalitpur and Kathmandu in Nepal. (Sundar1/Wikimedia Commons)

Nick Fetty | November 11, 2015

Researchers at the University of Northern Iowa are working with their counterparts at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, Nepal on a study that will examine the Bagmati River.

The Bagtami River is “the principal river of the Bagmati Basin in central Nepal.” Industrialization and urbanization in Nepal’s capital city of Kathmandu (pop. 1,003,000 [2011]) have contributed to ecological and environmental issues in the river. Through the study researchers hope to develop an “effective hydrologic assessment scheme for the polluted body of water.”

The project is led by UNI earth science professor Dr. Mohammad Iqbal.

“Students will learn about global environmental problems, particularly issues that are directly linked to human health,” Dr. Iqbal said in a press release. “This will be a great opportunity for our students to develop respect and understanding for people of a different culture, specifically for those people who are living in adverse environmental conditions.”

The researchers started on the project during May of this year when Dr. Iqbal and two of his students traveled to Nepal. The researchers conducted water and sentiment sampling, analyzed procedures, and implemented policy changes using scientific data. The team is expected to continue working on the project through the end of 2016. Funding for this project was made possible because of a $56,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The Bagmati River study is just one of the international research efforts in which UNI is participating. Last month NSF awarded UNI with nearly $750,000 to study environmental sustainability in the arctic. UNI will work with researchers from in Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden on the project.

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