Research areas of the Department of Ecology and Environmental Safety are as follows:
- spectrophotometric investigation and location of heterogeneous (dispersed) mediums, biomedical diagnostics (Vasyl Petruk, Sergey Kvaternyuk, Olga Bondarchuk);
- waste management (Vasyl Petruk, Vitalii Ishchenko, Roman Petruk);
- development of methods and means of remote air pollution control (Igor Vasylkivskyi);
- processing and recycling of highly toxic chemicals, persistent organic pollutants, pesticides and hazardous waste (Roman Petruk, Vitalii Ishchenko);
- quality and safety of food and drinking water (Oksana Styskal);
- wildlife protection and populations management (Iryna Trach);
- physiological effect of synthetic regulators of plant growth (Olesya Tkachuk).
At the moment the main activities are focused on 2 areas.
1. Environmental impact and processing of hazardous waste
The main objectives of the research are identification of all potentially dangerous substances coming from hazardous waste (especially those in household waste), investigation of their impact and the fate in the environment, as well as their further processing. Hazardous waste is very big waste group and our research deals with hazardous components known to be a part of municipal solid waste. Today, this type of waste is mostly collected in many countries together with other municipal or household waste and accumulates at landfills, where they pose a serious risk to the environment and human health. It is very big problem for Ukraine and many other countries. Very few countries have more or less efficient system of separate collection of such components. But, for sure, all above mentioned waste components can not be covered by separate collection. So, even countries with high recycling rate face with this problem.
The key research activities include study of heavy metals leaching from household waste at landfills to the environment, improving the methods of identification of pollutants coming from hazardous household waste to soil and water, assessment of such waste type influence on living organisms. Heavy metals are of the main potential contaminants. That is why we study their way in the system “product – waste – landfill site – environment”. First, we evaluate the amount of heavy metals (or other contaminants) transferred from different household products to waste. Second, we evaluate the amount of heavy metals delivered to landfill sites together with household waste. Third, we investigate how much heavy metals can release to the environment and try to predict their fate.
2. Analysis of heterogeneous mediums on the base of multi-spectral images
The research includes mathematical modelling of diffuse reflection spectra of different inhomogeneous mediums and further their recalculating to multi-spectral parameters, which helps to recognize different objects. All our researches deal with biological mediums (algae, human bio-tissues, etc.). At first, for some range of bio-physical and structural parameters of medium, spectral characteristics (spectrum of diffuse reflection coefficient) and multi-spectral images are modelled (by method of small-angle approximation). Then, using measured spectral characteristics and multi-spectral images, we solve inverse task: to get real bio-physical and structural parameters of medium. Multi-spectral images are connected to spectra of diffuse reflection and indicate how diffuse reflection coefficient changes in different zones of the object. This help to diagnose bio-medical objects (tumours, skin damages), ecological state of water objects (using algae), quality of food. Besides, there is a possibility to use multi-spectral images for early diagnostics of malignant melanoma of human skin. Every person has more than 10 benign pigmental nevuses. Some of these nevuses have a potential to malignant transformation. There are many reasons causing the morbidity increase due to malignant melanoma (10-15% every year). There are no high-informative non-invasive methods of early differential diagnostics of malignant melanoma. The damage of tumour is the cause of tumour progression and it accelerates metastases appearance. That is why the invasive methods are not used for differential diagnostics between malignant and benign skin tumours. Our research is connected to development the device for non-invasive early diagnostics of malignant pigmental skin tumours. Unlike traditional dermatoscopes, our device can increase the accuracy of diagnosis of tumours. It is based on spectrophotometric and multispectral images assessment of pigmental tumours. It gives an opportunity to provide high-efficient differential early diagnostics.