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Mumbai To Get World’s Largest Biomining Project, To Free Up 60 Acres of Land!

The reclamation technique of bio-mining will be used and if exercised at this large scale, it would be the world’s largest bio-mining project. But How safe is it? We talk to the National expert on Swachh Bharat Mission – Almitra Patel

In a suburb in northeast Mumbai lies a 60-acre dump site in the region of Mulund. The infamous garbage haven contains about 7,000 million tonnes of waste. Packed to the brim, the dump site was closed years ago.

And now that Mumbai is also filled to the brim with people, it was time to reclaim the dump site for better use.

The Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finalised a five-year contract with Mumbai-based Prakash Constrowell Limited to reclaim the dumping ground at the cost of Rs 558 crore.

The reclamation technique of bio-mining will be used and if exercised at this large scale, it would be the world’s largest bio-mining project.

Biomining has seen its popularity grow in India in the past few years. From Bengaluru, Trimbakeshwar and Nandurbar and recently in Chitlapakkam lake in Chennai, biomining seems the way to go. But just what is bio-mining and just how safe is it?

Read about the biomining in Chennai: Chennai Citizens Unite, and Now a Trashed Lake Is Coming Back to Life!

Well, to know more, we asked an expert. Meet Mrs.Almitra Patel, Member of the Supreme Court Committee for Solid Waste Management, a national expert for the swachh bharat mission.

First, we have to know that the biomining is referred to here is actually bio-remediation. Bioremediation is the use of microorganisms to degrade contaminants that pose environmental and human risks.

Tractors harrowing dump site
Source: Almitra Patel- SlideShare

“Oxygen in the air can convert all organic waste to humus-rich compost, like leaves on the forest floor. A quick and simple method is one which mounds of rotting waste can be sliced into parallel vertical heaps which are sprayed with composting biocultures to speed up decomposition. These are then turned weekly, four times, to fully stabilize the waste so that it no longer produces leachate or methane. This is called Bioremediation.” says Almitra to The Better India.

But how is that going to help the garbage site which is filled with plastic, metals and other ungodly materials?

“Bioremediation reduces the  volume of waste by upto 40% and also reduces its moisture content.This fully decomposed waste is then dry enough for screening into different useful fractions” replies Almitra.

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But then again how can these waste be any advantageous to us? Almitra says “ From waste, you can segregate fine organic-rich soil to improve farm fertility, a stony gravelly fraction can be used for road-making, plastics blown out for shredding can be uses in long-lasting “plastic roads” and the coarsest fraction with combustibles like cloth can be used as Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF). This screening for offsite use is what’s called Biomining.”

“It clears an old dumpsite of 90% waste and biomining is different from just moving rotted waste offsite to a new location” adds Almitra.

Biomining - How Safe Is It Actually ?
Turns out…. Its actually pretty safe.

And when asked about the safety of it’s procedure, Almitra had to quote this from a paper that studied bio-remediation “Bio-mining or bio-remediation of waste dumps to produce ZERO emissions by totally recovering and recycling all the waste from the levelled site, leaves only limited inerts and no problems for future generations, with maximum recovery of usable space.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a document from the National Service Center for Environmental Publications details about bio-remediation and it’s safety stating that:

And if you think people will be ridiculed to move to an ex-garbage dump site, know that bio-mining is as safe as the nutrients you add to see plants grow.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a document from the National Service Center for Environmental Publications details about bio-remediation and it’s safety stating that:

“The chemicals added to stimulate bioremediation are safe. For example, the nutrients added to make microbes grow are commonly used on lawns and gardens, and only enough nutrients to promote bioremediation are added.”

The project, if carried out successfully will result in about 24 hectares of land. That’s half as big as the Vatican City! And if I moved in here, I can say that I would actually be proud for being eco-friendly.

(Edited By Vinayak Hegde)


Hey, You May Also Like: This Kerala Residents’ Association Transformed a Dump Yard Into an Organic Farm!


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