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Odisha to Pilot Eco-solution for Polluted Water Bodies

The Forest and Environment Department on Tuesday decided to attempt an ecological solution to treat natural water bodies of the State Capital most of which are in high stages of pollution, thanks to influx of waste water and sewer.

A water body near Biju Patnaik Airport has been identified for piloting what it calls the “phytoremediation” experimentation.

For the eco-friendly project, the Department along with Odisha Wetlands Development Authority and Chilika Development Authority (CDA) have joined hands with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). While the conventional waste water treatment and sewerage treatment plant (STP) requires high operational cost, phytoremediation is cost-effective.

At a preliminary meeting here, Secretary, Forest and Environment Department RK Sharma discussed the project with  international expert from Israel Eli Cohen and Director, CII S Raghupathy. Cohen also visited the wetland near Bhubaneswar Airport.

The phytoremediation process involves use of plants for removal of pollutants from contaminated soil or water. The plants and micro-organisms associated with their root zone assimilate organic and inorganic contaminants into their system where the contaminants can be degraded or transformed into harmless substances, stored within the cell structures or volatilised into the atmosphere. Another unique aspect of  phytoremediation is its near zero operating cost.

Sharma said, the Government will take up phytoremediation on pilot basis within next three to six months to treat the wetlands near the airport. Based on the results, implementation plans will be drawn. In the long run, the Department plans to engage industry and building sector to pursue the innovative concept which will provide significant benefits to the State, he said during the meeting.

Cohen pointed out that municipalities, multi-dwellings units, industry, wetlands can explore the technology for holistically addressing waste water management and it is extensively used in several countries.

Raghupathy informed that GBC Green Building in Hyderabad, is India’s first phytoremediation site and the system is running smoothly and successfully.

As of now, CDA has completed survey work and basic information collection of the six acre wetland near airport. The inventory of natural plants has also been wrapped up. CDA will work with CII to come up with a management plan by first week of March.

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