For a clean ganga
Certain plants absorb pollutants from wastewater for their metabolism. A team from the National Botanical Research Institute in Lucknow, planned a plant-based project to clean the Ganga. U N Rai, environment scientist who heads the team, speaks to Savvy Soumya Misra
On how the project began
With the help of a non-profit in Pune, our group of four scientists submitted a project on cleaning the Ganga through all the states to the Planning Commission in 2005. We made our presentation to the Prime Minister in May this year.
On what phytoremediation entails
Utilizing plants to mitigate environmental problems is called phytoremediation. We have identified 20-25 plants that can efficiently remove heavy metals like chromium from the soil. These include bulrushes such as Scirpus lacustris and Typha latifolia that grow in wetlands.Phragmites karka, an aquatic reed, has roots with bacteria and fungi living on them. The microbes use the heavy metals as food source.
On the first experiment
In 2003, we executed a project at a common effluent treatment plant in Uttar Pradesh. The aquatic plant Vallisneria spiralis (Indian red sword) was grown in a sludge pool for 14 days and then uprooted. Its roots accumulated 358g of chromium per gramme of dry weight of the plant. The plant was composted for manure which had high mineral content. The pool showed a heavy loss in chromium concentration.
On the project
- Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding residential plots with private ghats in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, 07/11/2023
- Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding pollution of river through discharge of untreated sewage from the hotels/eateries at Howrah Railway Station, West Bengal, 06/09/2023
- Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding severe water pollution at the Shukratal Ganga Ghat in Muzaffar Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, 14/08/2023
- Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding pollution of river Ganga through Jhiriya nala, Sant Ravi Dass Nagar district, Uttar Pradesh, July 24, 2023
- Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding encroachment and pollution of river Kshipra, a tributary of river Ganga in Madhya Pradesh, 13/07/2023
- Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding illegal construction near river Ganga, Beliram ashram, Haridwar, Uttarakhand, 08/05/2023