Webinar:Threats to Human Health from Water- Associated Diseases: How Can Remote Sensing Help? (Wednesday 2nd September 2020, 1300 hrs BST/1730 hrs IST)

Indian Activity Lead Name: 

Dr. Nandini N Menon

Indian Activity Lead Organization: 

Nansen Environmental Research Centre India

UK Activity Lead Name: 

Dr. Shubha Sathyendranath

UK Activity Lead Organisation: 

Plymouth Marine Laboratory

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Water-associated diseases are major public health threats with large-scale morbidities and fatalities. “Water-associated” diseases refer to a rather broad class, including diarrhoeal diseases such as cholera; skin diseases associated with water-borne bacteria or metazoan parasites; vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever; and others such as hepatitis.  Outbreaks caused by bacterial or viral pathogens usually originate from a single population in coastal, estuarine and brackish water areas and assume epidemic or pandemic proportions. Lack of safe drinking water and basic sanitation facilities are the root causes for regular outbreaks of water-associated diseases. The transmission pathways include direct human to human infection and human-environment interactions.  In most cases, the major environmental reservoirs of the pathogens, their connectivity, how they might be affected by climate variability and the associated impact on human health remain largely unknown.  Remote sensing offers several avenues to explore the dynamics of pathogenic organisms (bacteria or virus) that are associated with water-borne or vector-borne diseases. In this presentation, we present the case of Vembanad Lake, a 100 km long brackish water lake, also a Ramsar site, plagued with Vibrio pollution and regular cholera outbreaks. 

Satellite remote sensing is used here as an extrapolation tool, for scaling up in-water observations to the level of the whole of the Lake system. Products obtained from Sentinel 1 & 2, such as chlorophyll concentration, SST, phytoplankton types, floating algal index, and suspended sediment load, are used to derive information on the water quality of the Lake.  This information in combination with in situ information is used to create risk maps for the whole Lake.  Further, time series maps can be generated to study the seasonal changes in this rapidly-altering ecosystem. An integrated approach involving remote-sensing scientists, marine microbiologists, geneticists, modellers, health workers, social workers and the general public will help in achieving the SDG target 6 – clean water.  If we can demonstrate that this approach works for Vembanad Lake, then we could explore its use for work related to water and vector borne diseases in other parts of the world.

Presenter's Bio

Dr Shubha Sathyendranath of Plymouth Marine Laboratory in the UK has almost 40 years’ experience in the field of marine optics and remote sensing of ocean colour. Her interests include bio-optical properties of phytoplankton, marine primary production, biological-physical feedbacks in the ocean, phytoplankton phenology, ecological provinces in the ocean, development of algorithms for remote-sensing of phytoplankton and the use of ocean-colour data in climate studies. She has over 200 publications on these and related topics. A native of India, she has worked in India, France, Canada and the UK. In recognition of her many scientific contributions she was awarded the Grande Médaille Albert 1er (Monaco).  She has devoted considerable effort to capacity building in developing countries (for which she has received the UNESCO/IOC Panikkar Memorial Medal). She is currently the UK lead for the REVIVAL project under the India-UK Water Quality Programme, funded by UKRI's NERC and the Engineering & Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), and India's Department of Science & Technology (DST). 

Dr Sathyendranath will be presenting research being developed with her colleagues and co-PIs in the REVIVIAL project amongst others: Dr Nandini Menon of Nansen Environmental Research Centre India, Kerala, Dr Anas Abdulaziz of CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography, Kochi, and Dr Grinson George of ICAR - Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi.  This team was also responsible for the idea that sparked IUKWC’s first User Engagement Initiative.  For more information on the team, please go to IUKWC’s Open Network


Activity Date Calender: 

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

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