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Geology 2022

Ranjan Ramasamy

Ranjan Ramasamy, Speaker at Geology Congress 2022
University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Title : Increasing salinisation and pollution of groundwater resources in a tropical peninsula – causes and implications for human well-being


Sea level rise and unsustainable groundwater extraction causes sea water intrusion into fresh water aquifers in coastal zones. Extensive use of agrochemicals and poor waste drainage practices pollute groundwater. The impact of such changes on human well-being in the 1025 km2 Jaffna peninsula in northern Sri Lanka are analysed. The peninsula has a mean elevation of 5 m, an estimated population of 650,000, and a distance from coast of < 10 km at any location, and is thus considered a coastal zone. Freshwater aquifers are the source of water in Jaffna. The Jaffna peninsula and nearby islands have an underlying Miocene limestone formation inland and unconsolidated formations e.g., lagoonal and estuarine deposits, and coastal and dune sands near the sea The limestone bedrock, is primarily calcite, and extends below sea level to function as an aquifer. There are four main limestone aquifers in the peninsula and the adjacent islands.

Human well-being in Jaffna is increasingly affected by,

(i) freshwater mosquito vectors of human disease adapting to develop in brackish and polluted water habitats making vector control more difficult, and

(ii) deterioration of ground water quality.


Ranjan Ramasamy graduated from the University of Cambridge, UK and then obtained a PhD also from the University of Cambridge. He has since held academic appointments in the UK and abroad including Australia, Sri Lanka and the USA. He was the Chairman of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka, Professor of Life Sciences at the Institute of Fundamental Studies in Kandy in Sri Lanka, Professor of Biochemistry in the University of Jaffna in Jaffna Sri Lanka, Professor of Immunology in the University Brunei Darussalam Medical School and held institute appointments at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge in the UK & Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla in the USA. He has more 250 publications in fields pertaining to Biological Sciences and an interest in Global Environmental Change and International Science. He was on the Committee on Scientific Planning and Review of the International Council for Science and the Board of Governors of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.

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