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Modern technology can address mining pollution- Prof.Natrajan

Bhubaneswar, May 20 (UNI) Remedial measures can be availed to address mining pollution through application of modern technologies, an expert in the field said here today.
Prof. K.A. Natarajan, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Materials Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, said modern technology should be used to solve the environmental problems related to the pollution in mining.
Speaking at a national conference on ‘Green Technology for Clean Environment’ at the SOA Deemed to be University here, Prof Natrajan said Odisha, is one of foremost mineral rich states in the country where application of advanced technology to abate pollution and protect the environment needed urgent attention.
The seminar, attended by scientists, researchers, academicians and entrepreneurs was organised by the Biofuel and Bioprocessing Research Centre (BBRC).
Listing the environmental concerns in mining, Prof. Natarajan said cyanide in aqueous discharges from mills and heap leach operations, disposal of waste with Acid Rock Drainage (ARD) potential, treatment of high volume ground water and mine water containing low concentrations of metal and other contaminations were cause for worry.
Besides, disposal of iron-arsenic wastes and precipitates, treatment of water containing thiosalts, ammonia and nitrates, settling of suspended particulars in process streams and degradation of organics were other problems to be dealt with, he said.
Prof. Natarajan who visited the mines in Sukinda area several times, said ARD was a potential problem area in the region as chromium had entered the ground water there.
In the USA, Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) and other toxins from abandoned mines had polluted 180,000 acres of reservoirs and lakes and 12,000 miles of streams and rivers, he said adding cleaning up these polluted water bodies would cost the government between 32 to 72 billion US dollars.
Biotechnology could be applied for environmental control in two ways—active and passive, he said.
In active treatment, a biotech plant was engineered and operated to maximize pollution mitigation by optimizing activity of microbiological species involved, Prof. Natarajan said.
Passive systems relied on activity of biological species within a natural setting and involved aerobic precipitation, anaerobic sulfide precipitation, ammonia generated neutralization, absorption and ion exchange.
The seminar was presided over by the SOA Vice-Chancellor Prof. Amit Banerjee who referred to the damages inflicted on the environment by cyclone
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