Fellowship Awarded


Mr. Dhaval Vargiya, Ph. D. scholar at RK University, has received a UGC-RGNF (University Grants Commission’s Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship) for his work on wildlife pesticide toxicity. His Ph.D. research is focused on the evaluation of pesticide toxicity in some of the important wetlands of Porbandar district, in the state of Gujarat. This research work is being carried out under the able supervision of Dr. Devang Pandya, Dy. Director, School of Pharmacy, RK University. Dr. Ketan Tatu from the GEER Foundation is co-supervising the research. The fellowship secures UGC funding of Rs. 5 lakh per annum for up to 5 years. The maximum funding that can be secured under UGC-RGNF is Rs. 25 lakh.

Pesticides are potential chemical pollutants extensively used in agriculture for the purpose of vector control, because of their low cost and high effectiveness. However, the harmful effects of pesticides on wildlife (especially on birds) and on wildlife habitats have been a major concern for a long time. Wetlands constitute one such habitat threatened by the recurrent usage of harmful pesticides. Alarming levels of pesticides have already been detected in the wetland complex of the Keoladeo National Park (KNP) in Rajasthan. The Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) in Gujarat has detected high levels of pesticides in some of the wetlands, including those in the vicinity of the Sukhbhadar and Meshwo dams and others in the vicinity of the Pariej and Wadhwana irrigation reservoirs. There may be several other wetlands in Gujarat, including those in the wetland-rich Porbandar district that might be facing pesticide-related (toxicity) issues. However, this area of research has not received enough attention till date. Therefore, comprehensive research in this direction seems necessary. The proposed research work is aimed at filling this vital research gap. It is aimed at assessing the occurrence of pesticides toxicity in the wetlands of the Porbandar district of Gujarat. Pesticide levels in the water, soil, and biological samples collected from some of the important wetlands of Porbandar, especially from the Mokarsagar wetland complex will be assessed, as part of this research work. The biological samples will primarily include wetland plants, water birds, and fish, as they represent the wetland biodiversity. The samples to be assessed will also include food crops growing in the agricultural fields juxtaposed with the wetland complex. Subsequent quantitative analysis will reveal more information about the presence/absence and the concentration of major pesticides or their metabolites in various biological and non-biological samples.

“Pesticide toxicity and its harmful effects on the food chain are burning issues that cannot be lent a deaf ear or a blind eye anymore. Congratulations to Dhaval Vargiya for receiving a fellowship that would help him investigate into this further”, says Dr. Devang Pandya, Ph. D. guide, RK University.

For more information, please feel free to get in touch with Mr. Dhaval at the following e-mail address: dhaval.mwcc@gmail.com