The University of Newcastle, Australia

New can be hiding right under your nose. But it takes someone special to find it. Meet Professor Ravi Naidu and his team at the University of Newcastle. They’re on a mission to help remove the 250 gigatons of life-threatening contaminants polluting the world’s soil, water and air.

Professor Ravi and his team at UON are trying to ensure the environment in which we live, work, eat, and breathe is clean and safe for us and – more importantly – our children and their children.

To do this, they have developed technology to ensure that contaminants in soil, water, and air are removed such that the environment we live in is safe for current and future generations.

Many of the industrial activities over the past 50 years have led to significant contamination of the environment… So, now the focus of our investigations – to a very large extent – is industrial contaminants and this is largely driven by the industries themselves," says Professor Naidu.

Right this second, 200 million people are exposed to high levels of arsenic in their drinking water. Removing this in a natural way may be possible with the simple new purification process that Ravi and his team have developed.

I hope that I have contributed to a cleaner, safer environment. More specifically, I believe my work will help to build capacity in developing countries, so that they are equipped to prevent, manage and clean up their contaminated sites,” says Naidu.

Ravi and his team are developing better ways to clean up a range of contaminants including petroleum and mining waste and by-products; long-lived chemicals found in food packaging; fabric treatments and firefighting foams; heavy metals from past and present industrial activities; and many more.

The impact of Professor Naidu’s work is nothing short of remarkable. His research has also led to the implementation of policy directives for governments and new technology to manage and remediate polluted groundwater and soil. He says he would love to see a new way of thinking, whereby the world’s industrial and commercial pursuits genuinely prioritise our environment over simply making money.

All the money in the world is useless if we can barely inhabit our own planet. This may seem obvious, but human activities tell us that it is not,” says Naidu.

Professor Ravi Naidu

Professor Ravi Naidu

Professor Ravi Naidu leads the Global Centre for Environmental Remediation (GCER).

I hope that I have contributed to a cleaner, safer environment. More specifically, I believe my work will help to build capacity in developing countries, so that they are equipped to prevent, manage and clean up their contaminated sites.

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