Student Profile: MWS candidate Palash Sanyal

Master of Water Security student Palash Sanyal has had the privilege to work with TEDTalks, WaterAid Bangladesh and Soliya. Born and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh, he left his home country in 2013.

PedalPure is a pedal powered water filter that is being fitted to rickshaws in Dhaka city. With over half a litre water being purified every kilometer, imagine what 600,000 rickshaw-pullers in the city can do.

What are your research interests?
My research interests have changed over time, with an understanding of different problems. Now, I focus mostly on perception, attitude and behavioral changes. I question what motivates people to take their decision, about water and energy. One of my previous research focused on the perception of public toilets in developing countries. Other previous research interests included climate change modelling, factors affecting energy option choice and gender biases in textbooks. 

Currently, I am looking at two questions, quite different from each other. One, "How we can better predict ice covers in rivers so that we can take better management decisions?" and "Which communities will be the most difficult to bring under Sustainable Development Goals and why?"

Most significant achievement?
My most significant achievement has been working with rural and urban poor communities in Bangladesh. I worked with rickshaw pullers in Dhaka slums to provide them with safe drinking water. The project was called PedalPure providing safe drinking water for their livelihood. 

I also had the privilege to work with TEDTalks, WaterAid Bangladesh and Soliya. Working with Soliya changed my understanding of society and conflicts. I have been involved with Soliya for more than 5 years now. These involvements brought me recognition and opportunities. I was named UNESCO/ISEDC Fellow in 2013, Clinton Global Initiative Mentor 2016, ISFiT Ambassador 2017. I attended four TEDTalk conferences globally and met some of the most exciting researchers, change-makers of all time. 

Favourite music?
Shoshana Bean and Cynthia Erivo  -  I Did Something Bad (Cover) 
Nine Inch Nails - Everyday Is Exactly The Same
Sean Rowe - Something Behind

Guns N' Roses - Don't Cry
A.R Rahman - Urvasi Urvasi
Watson Brothers - Rong

Most significant influence in my life has been my mother. She showed me how education can change lives and why women empowerment is crucial. I am also influenced by Karl Marx, Jean Paul Sartre and Hemingway. 

What impact do you hope your research will have?
My research on ice-on and ice-off should help climate models to better predict the change in rivers ecosystem over time. This will help communities to adapt to changes. Also, my research on perception should help decision-makers to take better decisions on achieving Sustainable Development Goals.  

How do you define sustainability?
To me, sustainability is a transition between past, present and future where no one feels the effects of others. This may sound unrelated, but during high school, I was really moved reading about Ragnar Nurkse's vicious cycle of poverty. For me, it was always a cycle of past, present and future. Cycle of sustainability would be benevolent.

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