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Earn in a clean environment

Concern for clean environment is growing rapidly in direct proportion to industrialization and urbanization. This, in fact, has opened up a lot of avenues for students who are keen to provide the world with clear air, fresh water and fertile soil. Countries across the globe are busy fighting environmental threats like deforestation, air and water pollution and deteriorating wildlife habitats. Globally, the environment market is worth $ 800 billion.

Opportunities galore

The major opportunities include waste water treatment, including municipal sewage treatment, air pollution control, hazardous wastes' management, working in municipal solid wastes-to-energy or composts' projects, environmental instrumentation, consulting and training.

Renewable and alternative energy sources like thermal and hydel power, solar wind, ocean and bio-mass energy are also gaining prominence. Apart from the government, private sector companies are also investing in renewable energy sources, thus further increasing the opportunities for growth.

The students of environment find employment opportunities at various organizations like the Central Pollution Control Board and State Pollution Control Board as environment consultants. Industries demand a large number of environment managers as it has become necessary for them to conform to the environmental norms.

The best part of a career in environment is that it offers a student the choice of a wide variety of disciplines. Whether a student is interested in making manufacturing processes more eco-friendly, monitoring biodiversity, or reclaiming contaminated land, there is a rich and varied set of career options available. Some of the eco-careers are in the fields of oceanography, fishery, anthropology, agriculture, food processing, dairy farming, energy management, veterinary science, dietetics and nutrition, marine engineering, environmental engineering, horticulture, biotechnology, environmental journalism and eco-tourism.

Job profile

An environmental engineer works at preventive as well as curative levels on pollution control. Waste water, atmospheric waste, unutilized materials, emissions, sludge and solid waste are to be handled and minimized depending on the process systems and the manufacturing activity.

The engineer has to study and assess the impact of the processes on the environment. In case it affects the environment, he has to take preventive steps so that the environmental balance is maintained.

He ensures that a plant meets standards set by the central and state pollution control boards, ISO standards and environmental laws. Consultancy firms, conducting studies on environmental impact assessment, pollution level analysis, and air, soil and water quality, also employ environmental engineers.

A graduate in environmental science looks at environment from an academic and study point of view. He conducts research in these areas. These people have an opportunity in the Research and Development centres across the country and they get to work on projects sponsored by the industry.

People who are into research can also take up professorship or lecturership as a career option and can teach at various universities and colleges which offer courses on environment. There is a lot of opportunity in teaching. In order to make the children more conscious about the environment, more and more schools and colleges have courses pertaining to environment.

Where to study

The environmental engineering branch in IIT's New Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Chennai offer programmes at the M.Tech level, but only for those who are B.Tech in Civil Engineering. Moreover, students at the M.Tech programmes are admitted through Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE). Also, IIT-Mumbai offers programmes in Environmental Engineering through a separate department called Centre for Environmental Science and Engineering. However, most of the engineering colleges in the country do offer undergraduate programmes in environmental engineering.

Not only this, there are possibilities of students going for Master of Science and even Ph.D. programmes in environmental engineering in the US and European Universities.

The graduates and the post-graduates in environment engineering have a host of opportunities in effluent treatment plants, environment management planning and public sector undertakings.

Institutes offering courses in environment

  • Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi
  • Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
  • Delhi College of Engineering, New Delhi
  • Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Kashmere Gate, Delhi
  • Centre for Environmental Management of Degraded Eco Systems, University of Delhi
  • CPR Environmental Education Centre, Chennai
  • G B Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Almora
  • Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education, Dehradun
  • Centre for Ecological Sciences, IISc, Bangalore
  • Forest Research Institute, Dehradun
  • Centre for Forestry Research and Human Resource Development, Chhindwara
  • Institute of Forest Productivity, Ranchi
  • Institute of Rain and Moist Deciduous Forest Research, Jorhat
  • Institute of Wood Science and Technology, Bangalore
  • Temperate Research Institute, Shimla
  • Tropical Forestry Research Institute, Jabalpur
  • Centre for Social Forestry and Eco-habilitation, Allahabad
  • Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal
  • Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun
  • Centre for Environment Education, Bangalore
  • Centre for Mining Environment, Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad

Foreign institutes

  • American Academy of Environmental Engineers, 130 Holiday Court, Suite 100 Annapolis, MD 21401
  • National Association of Environmental Professionals, 5165 MacArthur Boulevard, NW Washington, DC 20016-3315
  • Natural Environment Research Council, Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon, Wilts, SN2 1EU

Future of environmental sector

The global demand for environmental technologies is rising. Increasingly, the market is driven by concerns about clean water, clean air and climate change, and demand is expected to grow mostly in the areas of clean technologies and green energy. Indian industry has realized the importance of being eco-friendly.

At the industrial level, environmental engineering is high paying. There is a lot of scope not only in India but also abroad. A lot of UN projects and other similar projects run by global NGOs also require a lot of people with an environmental background. The demand for such people far outstrips the supply and these people are much sought after due to which environmentalists today are in a position to pick and choose their jobs.

For Comments: psjamwal@amity.edu

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