Scheme of Studies
The Department of Environmental Sciences envisions quality education through collaborative multidisciplinary modules and innovative research avenues to address current environmental issues and prospect future challenges for sustainable development.
Our mission is to emerge as a premier centre peculiar to learning,research that will provide solutions to multi-fold environmental challenges for betterment of society. The degree programs are aimed to develop qualified human resource with strong theoretical and practical knowledge of basic and applied aspects of Environmental Science. Courses for various degree programs have been designed to deliver state-of-the-art information and practical expertise that would enable graduates to effectively address the local to global environmental issues.
Environmental science is an interdisciplinary academic field to study the complex interaction of human activities and environment. The degree programs offered at the Department of Environmental Sciences bridge the gap between various basic and applied science disciplines to meet the challenges of 21st century through advanced research and training. It is, therefore, necessary to develop the research facilities in order to cope with future demands by engaging in multidisciplinary research.Researchers of this department are exploring the fields of phytoremediation, biodegradation, wastewater treatment, solid waste management, air pollution and climate change.Phytoremediation is a low-cost cleanup technique comprising direct use of living green plants for in-situ (in place) removal of contaminants from soils and surface waters. Biodegradation is the chemical dissolution of materials by bacteria, fungi, or other biological means. Wastewater treatment is possible through UASB (Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket Reactor). Solid waste management is the use of commercial & domestic waste for recycling, composting & energy generation at local & national level. Climate change is variability in the statistical distribution of weather patterns when the change lasts for an extended period of time. In other words, it may refer to a change in average weather conditions. Odd weather patterns cause shifting of seasons, weather complexities and resultantly high values of Heat Index.
For climate change research, development, and outreach (community awareness), Government College University Faisalabad (GCUF) collaborates with its national and international partners including PARC-Islamabad, ICIMOD (Nepal), TERI (India), BCAS (Bangladesh), Alterra of Wageningen University of the Netherlands. Heat stress has direct effects on human health. Health studies which derive a relation between health and heat usually make use of temperatures recorded at standardized locations outside city limits. In general, they do not cover the conditions in which the most vulnerable people, the urban and rural poor people, actually live in. Due to the Urban Heat Island effect, urban areas are exposed to higher levels of heat than the people living in surrounding rural areas. In addition, indoor temperatures can differ greatly from outdoor temperatures. In order to generate weather data for true urban environments, the temperatures must be recorded within the urban locations. The existing two weather stations in Faisalabad (one at the airport and the other at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad) do not generate true urban environmental data rather they produce agricultural scenarios.
Realizing the importance and need of a weather station in urban settings, the Vice Chancellor, GCUF inaugurated the automatic weather station at the old campus on March 02, 2016. This weather station is complete sets of instruments and measures wide range of climate and weather parameters. These instruments have been donated by the Alterra, Wageningen, the Netherlands under a joint regional project HI-AWARE. The researchers from the Netherlands, Dr. Christian Siderius and Ms Tanya elaborated the use and functions of this weather station in the scenario of heat waves in urban environments. The Vice Chancellor thanked the Wageningen University for their collaboration and discussed the use of data from weather station in various fields of life and natural sciences.
There is insufficient knowledge regarding the role of potential risk factors and adaptation measure such as house building material type on heat-related mortality. The health benefits from interventions in housing and the outdoor built environment,such as increasing green spaces and using albedo (e.g. painting roofs white) are a research area offering significant potential for improving people’s health, next to early warning systems.Researchers of the Department of Environmental Sciences at GCUF are exploiting threshold values of Heat Index in the slums of Faisalabad in order to be able to recommend to the city and district government for mitigation strategies including planting of good number of trees in vulnerable areas and recommending to the public the specific building materials to be used in their house construction. In continuation to the collaborative activities a “Stakeholders Consultation Workshop on Heat Stress in Faisalabad” was held on March 03, 2016 at GCUF. The workshop was attended by the researchers from GCUF,UAF,PARC,ALTERA-Wageningen University, LEAD-Pakistan, representatives from Rescue 1122 - Faisalabad, Faisalabad Waste Management Company, Vice Principal Punjab Medical College, health professionals from Allied Hospital Faisalabad and civil society representatives and students. The Vice Chancellor welcomed the participants from various disciplines and offered every possible support for heat-stress related studies in Faisalabad. Participants of the stakeholders’ workshop on the issues of heat stress and the related preemptive measures in Faisalabad.Organizing International Conference on “Global Environmental Change” is an annual routine activity of the Department. The 4th conference in this sequence was organized at the New Campus of the University in 2017. Five hundred trees of various species were planted at New Campus as a field activity of this conference.During 2019, the department organized awareness walks and seminars in the wake of smog and to celebrate World Soil Day. Moreover, an International Seminar was jointly organized by the department with University of Agriculture Faisalabad and Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) on the issues of Parthenium (Parthenium Hysterophorus L.) as an invasive species. Through these research and outreach activities, Department of Environmental Sciences is imparting significant environmental awareness among the public which has been appreciated by Prof. Dr. Shahid Kamal, Vice Chancellor and the community.
The researchers at the Department of Environmental Sciences are also working on the issues of environmental degradation from agricultural activities and their mitigative options. Surface and groundwater contamination of surface and ground waters with nitrogen and phosphorus from diffused nutrient pollution are significant threats to environmental sustainability and ecosystems functions, and, therefore, holistic soil and water management practices are required to be identified to tackle such environmental issues. At the Department of Environmental Sciences, the Environmental Biogeochemistry Research Laboratory is engaged in research related to CNP nutrient cycling and climate change, soil organic C dynamics, emerging contaminants (nanoparticles, xenobiotics and microplastics) and their effects on soil biological functions, and soil quality and health indicators in agroecosystems. The Biochar Research Unit within Environmental Biogeochemistry Research Laboratory is exploring the role of biochar in improving nutrient and water use efficiencies in semiarid agroecosystems as biochar is emerging an effective tool to promote soil C sequestration and improve soil properties to enhance crop productivity and soil quality. Evident from the academic and research outputs, the Department of Environmental Sciences has actively engaged with national and international institutes to address local, regional and global environmental issues. Environmental Biogeochemistry Research Laboratory has successfully partnered with 22 institutes from Europe and rest of the world to win European Commission funded project on intercropping with leguminous crops in sustainable agroecosystems.
The research team at the Air Quality & Monitoring Lab is engaged in research exploring the ameliorating role of various metal-based nanoparticles, for important crops & plants, exposed to tropospheric ozone, salinity & heavy metal stress. The department is also collaborating with London School of Economics & Political Science UK, NED University of Engineering & Technology, Karachi and Faisalabad Waste Management Company (FWMC) on project “Rubbish, Resources & Residues” a project investigating the need for integrated approached to solid waste management.