IIT Kharagpur Researchers Turn Steel Slug Dump to Green Hub
IIT Kharagpur researchers transformed Tata Steel BSL steel plant slag dumps in Odisha into greenbelt using traditional Indian organic components and Japanese afforestation techniques. The researchers afforested over 32000 square feet in the region following a rapid forest regeneration technique by a unique mix of the traditional resource of Panchagavya with the Miyawaki plantation technique of ecologist Prof Akira Miyawaki from Japan.
The dumping of blast furnace slag by steel plants has been a perennial challenge in India and even in some of the developed countries in the world. These steel slag dumps contribute to the generation of airborne particles causing air pollution and also to groundwater and surface water contamination through different pathways. The slag covered land is unsuitable for vegetation growth and associated problems lead to the ruination of vegetation and health hazards for both humans and animals. Researchers at IIT Kharagpur have devised a bioremediation method to reduce the concentration of these polluting slags to an innocuous state.
A research team led by Prof. Khanindra Pathak from the Dept. of Mining Engineering at IIT Kharagpur, has turned this slag suitable for plant growth by mixing it with topsoil, cow dung and other organic enhancers. Plants carefully chosen for the Miyawaki technique and 22 native species were grown on the mix with a 30 centimeter layer of topsoil over it administering them with Panchagavya.
The success of the present project has helped the industry to not only comply with the mandate of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, but will protect the neighbouring villages from airborne dust to a certain degree in addition to the usefulness of the vegetation developed to the villagers. Prof. Pathak earlier demonstrated stabilization of dump slope and prevention of erosion at the Joda Mines in the Barbil region, which witnessed regeneration of thick vegetation cover. In another demonstration, a horticulture field was developed at Sonepur Bazari waste dump under a CSR project.