• Ecology & Environment

    CSIR is a major contributor providing R&D inputs towards evolving national policies and ameliorating environmental problems. Over the years, it has developed multidimensional expertise in air, water and soil quality management, analyzing onshore, offshore & atmospheric environments, toxic & hazardous waste management and development of cleaner technologies, besides carrying out environmental impact and risk assessment studies. Poised to steer the country forward in cutting-edge and sunrise fields, it has developed a host of green technology packages to help practically all the sectors.

    CSIR’s mandate in the Ecology and Environment Sector is:

    • To conduct research in different areas of environmental engineering, to carry out R&D work in the areas of environmental monitoring, environmental biotechnology, hazardous wastes management, and environmental systems design, modelling, and optimization, to conduct environmental impact and risk assessment for industrial units, to help in social upliftment through mission programmes on drinking water and Ganga Action Plan etc., and to carry out environmental policy analysis
    • To assist the National Mission Programmes and inspection of environmental management systems for the Judiciary
    • To provide the knowledge base and analytical as well as experimental skills on health risk assessment, preventive toxicology, predictive toxicology, environmental toxicology, inhalation toxicology and analytical toxicology
    • To conduct multi-disciplinary research – both basic and applied – for the development of cleaner processes and technologies for improvement of environment through process design changes and optimization; investigate and recommend measures for prevention and control of environmental pollution and associated health hazards
    • To play an enabling role by developing wide-ranging capabilities in mathematical modelling and computer simulation
    • To develop technologies for desalination, separation/concentration of industrial fluids/wastes and effluent treatments
    • Wasteland development
    • To identify health hazards in different environments and undertake health and environmental surveys, to suggest remedial/preventive measures from pollutants
    • To evaluate safety of chemicals used in industry, agriculture and domestic activities
    • To develop a knowledge-base relating to physical, chemical, biological, geophysical, features and pollution aspects of the seas around India
    • To monitor/assess environmental effects on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning


    In addition to National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, which is exclusively devoted to serve this theme area, several other CSIR institutes are making significant contributions to this area. The major ones along with their core competence are listed below:

    Labs Core Competence
    National Institute of Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI, Nagpur) Environmental Monitoring-- Physical, chemical and biological monitoring of air, water and land, development and use of analytical and GIS techniques; Environmental Biotechnology-- treatment systems for domestic and industry-specific waste waters, restoration/reclamation of degraded/spoiled land environment; hazardous waste management-- wastes characterization, treatment and disposal facilities, impact assessment; environmental systems design, modelling & optimization – modelling air quality, river and estuarine water quality, ground water system, non-linear ecosystem, effluent treatment packages ; environmental impact and risk assessment and audit ; environmental policy analysis; societal missions (including advice to the Judiciary)
    Central Building Research Institute (CBRI, Roorkee) Surface and ground water quality monitoring for organic/inorganic pollutants; environmental impact assessment, environmental audit & environmental management plan for proposed & expansion projects of process industries and infrastructure projects; testing of soils, flyash, industrial and mining waste etc.,for manufacturing of bricks and tiles; devices for abatement of pollution in lime kilns, etc.
    Central Fuel Research Institute(CFRI, Dhanbad) Pollution control of coal-based industries, waste utilization
    Central Mining Research Institute (CMRI, Dhanbad) Mine environment management, safety and monitoring of mining health hazards
    CSIR Centre for Mathematical Modellingand Computer Simulation (C-MMACS, Bangalore) Climate and environmental modelling; Ocean geodynamics and earthquake hazards
    Central Salt & MarineChemical Research Institute.(CSMCRI, Bhavnagar) Water purification technologies, e.g. reverse osmosis, ionic membranes, design of ED system, electrochemical characterization of ionic membranes, film extrusion, injection molding of conducting spacers as well as physical chemistry of transport through membranes. Wasteland development- cultivation of desert economic and halophytic plants in arid, semiarid and saline lands, environmental audit; phytosalinity Monitoring of environmental quality of coastal region; Environment impact assessment studies; Environment audit for Schedule 1 industries; Identification and performance evaluation of wastewater outfalls; Ecological survey and other oceanographic studies
    Industrial Toxicology Research Centre (ITRC,Lucknow) Evaluation of eco-friendliness of chemicals and products; identification and disposal of hazardous wastes; impact of hazardous industrial chemicals on the health of workers, chemical disaster monitoring; environmental audit; preparation of plans for chemicals disaster management; analysis and measurement of pollutants using specially designed protocols; potable and waste water quality analysis; analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and pesticide residues; development of mathematical models for environmental risk assessment
    National Geophysical Res. Institute (NGRI, Hyderabad) Geo-environment studies, water prospecting, Earth’s structure, seismic assessments
    National Institute of Oceanography (NIO, Goa)Oceanic/seabed surveys, environmental impact Oceanic/seabed surveys, environmental impact assessment, pollution control and waste disposal in the sea; coastal zone development; impact predictions of coastal activity on marine ecology; environmental management
    National Metallurgical Laboratory (NML,Jamshedpur) Development of cleaner processes/technologies for metallurgical industries – both ferrous/non-ferrous sectors; investigations on nature of pollution caused by metallurgical sector; prevention and control of pollution through process integration and optimization measures followed by “End-of-Pipe” techniques; recycling of metallurgical wastes; comprehensive assessment of water quality; development of processes and technologies for purification of process and ground water; reduction in green house gas emission in metallurgical sector with special focus on small and medium enterprises; development of emission norms and standards
    National Physical Laboratory(NPL, New Delhi) Studies pertaining to atmospheric physics, measurements and modeling of greenhouse gases, standards and calibrations
    Regional Research Laboratory, Bhopal EIA, hazardous waste management, waste water treatment plant design, monitoring and auditing of industries, environmental monitoring, water treatment



    • Preparation of EIA guidelines & manuals for ten selected sectors for World Bank and MoEF
    • Preparation of 16 inspection reports on air and water pollution control systems in the states of U.P., Bihar and West Bengal, at the instance of the Supreme Court
    • Ecosystem health modelling, and biotic hydration of carbon dioxide
    • Study of air quality trends in 10 major Indian cities
    • Audit of global environmental (air) monitoring stations in the South East Asian countries
    • Development of nucleic acid probes for detection of enteric viruses and Entamoeba histolytica in drinking water
    • Studies on oil spill degradation and pollution control
    • Microbial desulphurization of fossil fuels
    • Anaerobic biosolar treatment of wastewaters using photosynthetic bacterial system
    • Treatment and disposal of hazardous waste sludge from an aluminium smelter
    • Development of indigenous catalytic converter technology for autoexhaust emission control.
    • Engineering packages for common effluent treatment plants, and modular packages for waste water treatment.
    • Biotechnological reclamation of manganese and coal mine spoil dumps using domestic and industrial wastes
    • Air pollution studies to redefine Taj trapezium
    • Environmental audit of industrial and mining projects
    • Development and application of water supply and sanitation programmes in villages.
    • Development of indigenous low cost air pollution control technology for small-scale industrial sectors
    • Development of software for computer-aided EIA of industrial projects and risk assessment
    • EIA of water resources, mining, ports/harbours, and industrial projects
    • Ecorestoration of mine dumps and other degraded ecosystems
    • Environmental management systems for the Judiciary—Carried out and submitted inspections and reports to High courts and Supreme Court, pertaining to effluent treatment plants and control of diseases.
    On-line water quality monitoring system developed by NEERI


    • Elucidation of mechanisms by which pesticides, heavy metals, monomers, plasticizers and other plastic additives, solvents, food colours and dye intermediates act and elicit deleterious effects on human health.
    • Contributed significantly to Drinking Water Mission, Ganga Action Plan, Technology Mission on Edible Oils and Pulses, Global Climatic Change programme and All India Coordinated Programmes on Food Colours, Pesticides and Metal Exposure Assessment.
    • Isolation of microorganisms, which have the potential of degrading pesticides such as DDT, Endosulfan and Lindane at the contaminated sites
    • Development of water filtration devices, e.g. water filters, Bacto-o-kill
    • Development of kits for detection of adulterants, e.g. Argemone in mustard oil


    • Development and implementation of technology for control of pollution from foundries operating coke fired cupolas
    • Design and development of cokeless cupolas
    • Development of processes for utilization of fly ash to make value added products
    • Development of low-cost processes for purification of groundwater from toxic metal contaminants


    • Physical, chemical, biological, geological and geophysical studies of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of India and other areas in the Indian Ocean which have led to understanding of the ocean processes and the resources hitherto unknown.
    • Development of models covering land-sea and air-sea interactions and ocean dynamics to understand variability of monsoon. Studies on the anticipated sea level rise due to Greenhouse Effect have revealed that Lakshadweep Archipelago is most vulnerable to inundation.
    • Development of a chemical model of the Arabian Sea, using thermodynamic data of the major and minor components of seawater. Regular monitoring of the Indian sea with regard to pollution by heavy metals, pesticides, hydrocarbons, etc, has helped assess the health of our seas
    • Microbial culture for biopulping, biobleaching and effluent treatment in paper industry
    • Pollution monitoring using bioluminescent bacteria


    • Integrated Modelling Platform - capacity to model and forecast environmental process at user specified spatio-temporal scales
    • Accurate, long-range prediction of rainfall pattern - The Neural Network model developed at C-MMACS for long-range forecasting of monsoon rainfall has been successfully used to generate experimental forecasts for the past seven years.
    • Dynamic Ocean Modelling - Ocean state forecasting for diverse uses like --economic shipping lane to tourism; ocean resource management ; estimation of fisheries potential and influence on sea surface temperature ; ocean state forecast of the seas around India ; prediction of monsoon variability, storm surges associated with cyclones, waves, biological productivity and coastal processes; surface wind flows over the global oceans [ 1982-1994] and tidal models for the Gulf of Kutch, Bombay High, and Mandovi-Zuari estuary system have been developed.


    • Development of reverse osmosis technology with membranes in spiral configuration of desalination of brackish water. Four stationary plants and three mobile desalination plants based on this technology have been installed in different parts of the country, under the Drinking Water Mission. One stationary and one mobile plant have been gifted to the Government of Thailand
    • Ten electrodialysis plants have been developed and installed for desalination of sea water based on a cost-effective technology evolved at CSMCRI
    • Developed Domestic ED system with inbuilt ozonator for providing safe drinking water with a capacity of 10-15 LPH from feed water of brakishness upto 3,000 ppm
    • Development of technology for manufacture of thin film composite membranes
    • Animal powered RO: a unique water desalination system, which uses animal energy to energize the high-pressure pump to effect brackish water desalting by Reverse Osmosis (RO)
    • Development of a novel 2-stage seawater desalination unit based on indigenous brackish water membrane. A prototype 250 LPH unit has already been tested and found to give less than 500 ppm product water. The unit is being modified to scale up its capacity to 700 LPH, with 40-45% recovery.
    • Commissioning of a one million litres per day RO unit for treatment of tertiary treated sewage water at Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd. Seventy five percent of the feed water is recovered in the permeate.
    • Agrotechnologies have been developed for cultivation of crops such as Salicornia brachiata, Jatropha curcas and Jojoba for wasteland utilization, and obtaining valuable products. Trials to produce biodiesel from extracted Jatropha oil was successfully carried out and Daimler Chrysler India has already carried out test run using Class C Mercedes cars for 12,000 km.
    One million litres/day sewage water treatment plant at CPCL, Chennai, based on CSMCRI technology
    • Marine EIA / Base line Studies/ Marine Environment monitoring etc.
      • M/s Saukem, Saurashtra Chemicals Ltd., Porbandar.
      • M/s Alcok Ashdown (Gujarat) Ltd., Bhavnagar .
      • M/s Gujarat Ambuja Cements Ltd., Kodinar.
      • M/s Pepsico India Holdings Pvt. Ltd., Gurgaon.
      • M/s Palsana Enviro Protection Ltd., Kadodara, Dist. Surat .
      • M/s Veraval Industries Association, Veraval.
      • M/s Hindalco Industries Ltd (Unit: Birla Copper), Dahej.
      • Gujarat Maritime Board for Alang-Sosiya environment monitoring.
      • Bharuch Eco-Aqua Infrastructure Ltd., Ankaleshwar.
      • Indian Coast Guard, Jakhau
      • Cargill India Private Ltd, Kutch
      • Cambay Chem., Khambhat
      • Indian Rayon & Industries Ltd., Veraval
    • Environmental Audit
      • M/s Tata Chemicals Ltd., Mithapur
      • M/s Indian Rayon and Industries Ltd., Veraval
      • M/s National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd., Jhanor
      • M/s Indo-gulf Corporation Ltd. (unit: Birla Copper), Dahej
      • M/s Gujarat Ambuja Cements Ltd., Kodinar
      • M/s Narmada Cement Company Ltd., Jaffrabad
      • M/s. Gujarat Electricity Board, Thermal Power Station, Ukai.
      • M/s. Gujarat Electricity Board, Thermal Power Station, Wanakbori.
      • M/s. Gujarat Electricity Board, Thermal Power Station, Sikka.
      • M/s.Gujarat Electricity Board, Kutcch Lignite Thermal Power Station, Panandhro.
      • M/s Atul Ltd., Atul.
      • M/s Perfect Enviro Control Systems Ltd., Sarigam
      • M/s CLP Power India Pvt. Ltd., GPEC Power Plant, Paguthan, Bharuch
      • M/s Kankai Chemicals Ltd., Kadi
      • M/s Ambuja intermediate Ltd., Kalol
      • Veraval Industries Association, Veraval


    • particle Size Analyzer for Textile Industry
    • Microcontroller-based ozone monitor
    • Real-time sound analyzer
    • Microcontroller-based COH and dust mass monitor

    Some other CSIR laboratories have also contributed significantly to this theme area.

    NCL has developed membrane filters for water treatment and processes for industrial water treatments e.g., black liquor of paper industry enabling its recycling

    CMRI has made remarkable contributions towards mine safety, ventilation, etc., RRL-Bhopal, has contributed towards flyash utilization and wasteland development. It has carried out EIA studies of gas-based power plant at Marmugao, Goa, and integrated petrochemical plant at Lepetkata in Assam for Reliance Industries. It has also carried out monitoring of ambient air (SPM, SO2 and NOx) and noise, water (physical, inorganic, organic and nutrient parameters and heavy metals), land (physico-chemical and textural parameters), developed designs of effluent treatment plant, and used coal ash as a soil modifier, micro fertilizer and water retainer.

    RRL-Bhubaneswar has played a major role in developing cleaner technologies for mineral beneficiation

    RRL-Jorhat has carried out studies on the impact of oil field pollutants on Muga silkworms, tea and paddy (for ONGC/Department of Environment & Forests, Government of India.

    NPL has carried out noteworthy atmospheric studies on various aspects in this sector, eg., ozone depletion, greenhouse gases etc.

    Future Ambit

    In the coming years, CSIR will lay emphasis on comprehensive monitoring of all environmental parameters with a view to providing quality management of air, water, soil etc., waste minimization with an objective to working towards a target of zero discharge and green chemistry in reference to purposeful use of wastes, extraction of meaningful chemicals and development of environment friendly technologies. The protection of human health from pollution and its deleterious effects is also a great societal need, which needs priority action. Environmental biotechnology is to be extensively promoted for development of specialized sensors/instruments for environmental monitoring.

    The future plans of some of the major contributors to this theme area are:

    • NEERI,while strengthening and diversifying its existing R&D programmes, would lay emphasis on: cleaner technologies for industrial production; application of r-DNA technology for environmental preservation; environmental nano technology, and quantification of environmental complexity.
    • ITRC would include establishment of national facility for- safety evaluation, poison control centre; development of biotechnology for environmental decontamination, development of alternative methods for safety evaluation.
    • NML would make concerted efforts to achieve identified environmental limits for all emissions, including species such as NOx and VOCs ; eliminate CO emissions while reducing CO2 levels ; replace and dispose of devices and systems currently using hazardous materials, such as mercury and PCBs ; identify and measure new hazards (such as dioxins) and achieve identified limits of new hazards and eliminate toxic releases ; achieve 100% recycling of waste water with zero discharge and achieve 100% recycling, recovery and/or reuse of spent refractories; prevention of material degradation and environmental pollution; establishment of a comprehensive water testing and evaluation laboratory ; a single window consultancy on water and effluent treatment; pursue research in the area of micro- and nano-size bubble generation by novel methods and its application to flotation and waste treatment processes.
    • RRL-Jorhat would concentrate on chemical and bio-chemical management of environmental degradation in coal mining, oil-gas fields and implementation of the developed technology in the brick fields to solve the environmentally hazardous sludge disposal problem.
    • CSMCRI has developed the design for 6-9 LPH Domestic RO units and is at present engaged in development of a suitable low capacity, high-pressure pump to increase the output of water and reduce water wastage in the form of reject water. The target is to make such domestic units costing less than Rs.10, 000. It will also upgrade its membrane coating facility and set up a state-of-art module making facility. These will help in transferring know-how to potential entrepreneurs to maximize the impact of the technology. CSMCRI intends to modify the membrane process to make it eco-friendly and also develop ion-specific membranes, organic-inorganic composite nanostructured membranes, such as proton conducting membranes useful in fuel cells and to scale up the preparation of bipolar membranes through environmental friendly methods, hydrophilic modified charged porous membranes for size and charge based separation under coupled driving forces. CSMCRI would like to intensify its R&D activities on environmental biotechnology including bioremediation and focus on biotransformation to develop green technology leading to environmental preservation.