Dr. Sarva Mangala Praveena receives the 2018 Gro Brundtland Week of Women in Sustainable Development from Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Tang Prize Foundation and NCUK President Huey-Jen Jenny Su at NCKU, April 3rd.
Endorsed by Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, granted by Tang Prize Foundation and organized by NCKU, the Gro Brundtland Week of Women in Sustainable Development commits to engage the outstanding female researchers for public health and sustainable development. It empowers an international platform for collaboration and partnership of female researchers in Taiwan and developing countries.
Dr. Praveena says, “This award means recognition and appreciation for my research work achievements, for the job that I love and passionate till today.” Dr. Praveena is the associate professor of Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University Putra Malaysia, specialized in environmental analysis and human health risk assessment.
Dr. Praveena’s research topics were related with environmental analysis and human health risk assessment, involving various types of water samples (beach water, drinking water, surface water and wastewater, low cost water filter), urban soil and dust, marketed rice and microbeads.
Her water-related research topics include the health symptoms among beach visitors due to beach water exposure, heavy metal in drinking water incorporated with health risk assessment. Some of her research findings provide baseline values to broaden current knowledge of emerging pollutant (steroid hormones) contamination in water bodies in Malaysia. Her greywater purification study shows heavy metal (Cu, Cd, Pb and Ni) can be removed with banana stem waste, exploring its great potential as a raw material for activated carbon production and greywater treatment.
Dr. Praveena also points out the importance to consider bioavailability pollutant form as accurate pollutant concentration in health risk assessment for future study, with her studies involving soil and dust in urban areas. Her microbeads study findings have outlined as an indicator on global occurrence of microplastics pollution due to personal care products, which is limited, found in Southeast Asia.
Dr. Praveena is also the inventor of a water filtration unit, low cost, foldable, easy to transport and assemble. It uses silver nanoparticles coating on cellulose paper to filter and provide clean drinking water and the performance efficacy scores for six sustainability criteria, suitable for emergency use. SODIS and chlorination are suitable for emergency use, but their dependence on UV penetration and chlorine disinfection efficiency would be an issue. Comparatively, the filters made with ceramic and biosand would suit for daily use with higher performance index, but it will decline if regular cleaning is not in place.
“Rapid urbanization will increase the pollution loadings.” Dr. Praveena concludes. “Assuring safe drinking-water from sustainable water resources is one of the crucial factors in public health and sustainable development to every country in the world.”
Dr. Praveena notes, to all those women who would like to pursue your career in field of science, “having a career as a female scientist is full of challenges, thus you need to love what you do, open for learning new things every day, face all the challenges and push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Enjoy small and also big achievements in your career, this will increase your confidence level. Lastly, you have to work really hard. It is because at the end of the day, nothing can beat the hard work in order to be successful in your career.”
來自馬來西亞的Sarva Mangala Praveena博士，是Putra Malaysia大學環境與職業醫學研究所副教授，多年來，她透過環境分析與健康風險評估，探討永續發展與公共衛生相關議題，獲選2018年Gro Brundtland Award。她現正進行污水淨化、飲用水藥物殘留分析等研究，並開發出低成本、適合緊急使用的飲用水淨水器。
Dr. Praveena 認為，不論是開發中國家或開發國家，公共衛生是永續發展的核心，其中最關鍵的是飲用水的水資源永續發展，馬來西亞的水資源面臨污水、工業廢水、氣候變遷等威脅。她曾經針對被馬國做為飲用水水源的3條河流進行水質檢測分析，結果檢測到多種藥物殘留（阿莫西林、咖啡因、氯黴素、環丙沙星等），確定在馬國水體中出現新的污染物，這些研究結果擴充了馬來西亞對新型污染的認知與掌握。另外，她也做過海水浴場、一般廢水、飲用水等各式水質檢測研究，發現充滿戲水人潮的海水早已被污染。至於土壤、粉塵、稻米、奈米塑膠微粒等環境污染與健康的相關議題也在她的研究範疇之中。
獲得2018年Gro Brundtland Award，Dr. Praveena興奮地說，「我熱愛我的研究，研究成果果及其影響一直持續中，得獎不只是榮譽，更是對我投入研究成績的肯定。」