With a nation-wide restriction on sand extraction owing to directions of the National Green Tribunal, the construction industry should look for effective alternatives in waste, including processed debris, quarry dust, ash and sludge, said Vaman Acharya, Chairman of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) on Friday.

By using the voluminously available waste, the construction industry will find “huge assets” along with solving the problem of pollution and environmental degradation, Dr. Acharya said at a seminar on “Alternatives to river sand” organised by the KSPCB and the Indian Concrete Institute (ICI).

Cement firms

“We find that cement companies are open to buying ash from thermal power plants. Thermal power plants such as the Udupi Power Corporation Ltd. (UPCL) and Raichur Thermal Power Station have much of the ash lifted by cement industries,” he said.

Sand extraction

However, the highly environmentally destructive riverbed sand extraction remains the predominant source of sand, which is used extensively in the construction industry to make mortar and concrete, Dr. Acharya said.

Alternative sand such as manufactured sand (crushed stone) pond ash (a by-product of thermal power plants) or construction demolition waste have several advantages, said C.S. Vishwanatha, chairman of Civil-Aid Technoclinic Pvt. Ltd.

Sand import

States such as Kerala are facing a crisis over construction material, said V. Ramachandran, vice-president of ICI. “Kerala imports sand from places such as Vietnam, and is also looking to use marine sand for construction,” he said.

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