As far back as September 1981, the increasing interest in environmental protection made it necessary to establish a new Department at the then Institute of Chemical Technology (VŠCHT) Pardubice: its name was “Department of Environment of Chemical Industry” and its first head was assoc. prof. JUDr. J. Janko, CSc. In 1986, assoc. prof. Ing Tomáš Sákra, CSc. was appointed head of the Department, whose somewhat misleading name was changed after 1989 into “Department of Environmental Protection”; and this was transformed into the “Institute of Environmental Protection” in 1997. The same year also saw the creation of the “University Centre of Ecology”, whose activities—as indicated by its name—involve the whole University of Pardubice.
In the year 2009 the “Institute of Environmental Protection” became part of "Institute of Environmental and Chemical Engineering" as its "Department of Environment Protection".
The activities of Department of Environmental Protection fall into two basic categories: scientific research and teaching.
Due to the necessary multidisciplinary approach to the protection and formation of environment, the scientific focus of the Department is composed of several basic lines, particularly involving:
Development of new analytical methods for detection and determination of contaminants in various components of general and working environments. These include particularly instrumental procedures based on separation electrochemical methods, atomic absorption spectrometry, and X-ray fluorescence analysis
Processing of results of the analyses of pollutants from the standpoint of their potential toxicological or eco-toxicological impacts.
Development of new technological procedures and chemical-engineering methods and apparatus for reduction of escape of pollutants into the components of environment. Particularly accented is the purification of wastewaters by chemical procedures and protection of air against gaseous and dust emissions.
Study of problems of ecological stability of landscape, development of geographical information systems and evaluation of impact of anthropogenic activities upon environment. Study of dependence of flora on anthropogenic effects, particularly in very heavily loaded regions, such a Giant/ Sudeten Mountains (Krkonoše).
It can easily be understood that such a broad range of activities and expert focus would be impossible without close cooperation with many enterprises and institutes. The results of scientific activities of the Department have been published in more than 300 papers in both Czech and foreign journals, proceedings from conferences, expertises, reports, consultations and evaluations. The teaching loads of the Department staff members are divided into those designed for the Department’s own specialisation and those for other departments of the University of Pardubice.
Thus, e.g. through the University Centre of Ecology (which includes laboratories with versatile instrumentation and PC lecture room), the Department ensures teaching of “ecological” subjects in cooperation with those bodies of the University that wish to include such subjects into their teaching syllabi. The Department’s teachers also give lectures and seminars in their specialised areas for students of the Faculty of Chemical Technology and other parts of the University of Pardubice.
However, the fundamental part of pedagogical activities of the Department staff members is focused on education of undergraduates majoring in Environmental Protection and the PhD students. The Department also ensures postgraduate studies in “Applied and landscape ecology”; so far, eight students have graduated and seventeen students are currently majoring in Environmental Protection. This year, another two postgraduate students are expected to successfully finish their PhD studies.
The students majoring in the lines provided by the Department of Environmental Protection do their specialised studies in the 7th to 10th terms of study. The key subjects offered in the line of specialisation include: Eco-Analysis, Basics of Environmental Protection, Computational Techniques in Environmental Protection, Basics of Ecology, Ecological Aspects of Inorganic and Organic Technologies, Processes and Apparatuses used in Environmental Protection, Industrial Toxicology, Microbiology, Economics and Management in Formation and Protection of Environment, General and Applied Electrochemistry, Atomic Absorption Spectrometry, and a number of facultative subjects (Chemical Literature, Bio-Engineering, Safety Engineering in Chemical Industry, Bio-Physical Chemistry, Production Management etc.). Most subjects are complemented by the respective laboratory training both in laboratories of the Department and in cooperation with specialised institutions (e.g. the Laboratory Training in Toxicology in cooperation with VÚOS Toxila, Pardubice-Rybitví). The subjects examined during State Examination include Eco-Analysis and Basics of Environmental Protection, supplemented by a facultative/optional subject corresponding to the special line of the graduate (Analytical Chemistry, Economics, Ecological Aspects of Technologies, or Processes and Apparatuses).
Each graduate from Department of Environmental Protection is a fully educated chemical engineer. His education, however, is distinctly extended in the area of protection and formation of environment, not only from the standpoint of chemical production but also from the point of view of application of chemical substances and their potential impacts in all fields of human activities.
The extent of a graduate’s knowledge and skills covers also the problems of disposal of wastes, wastewaters and gaseous emissions of various kinds and character. The graduate is able to recognise potential impacts of pollutants upon the health conditions of citizens and the whole eco-system; he understands the meaning of recommended limit values of xenobiotics etc. Also extended is his knowledge of necessary legislative, hygiene, safety and health, economical and environmental topics. Of course, emphasis is put on perfect orientation in the present information systems concerning the environmental protection problems. The graduate from Department of Environmental Protection, having this expert profile, can find job either as a fully competent chemical engineer (i.e. in chemical and foodstuff industry or corresponding institutes) or in leading posts of responsibility, dealing with problems of formation and protection of environment in any enterprises, companies, research workplaces and control laboratories of any sort, as well as in organs of state administration at all levels etc.
By this year, the total number of graduates over the whole period of existence of this specialisation (i.e. 1981-2004) has reached 213. Available information shows a gratifying fact that most graduates are holding posts in which they can fully exploit the specialised education obtained.