Coimbatore

Research under way to identify trees that can grow in polluted areas

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TNPCB has mandated industries to take up afforestation initiatives

The Forest Department is undertaking research to identify various types of tree species that can grow in areas that have been polluted. These species can be used in afforestation initiatives in places such as Tirupur where industrial pollution is high.

S. Balaji, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Research and Education), told The Hindu here on Friday that this research would be of immense benefit to industries. The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) mandated the industries to take up afforestation initiatives under the ‘polluter pays’ principle to mitigate the effect of pollution caused by them on the environment. This process of using plants and trees to combat pollution was known as ‘phyto-remediation.’

While the primary research was under way at the State Forest Research Institute (SFRI) in Kolapakkam, Chennai, the department had 54 research stations located across all the seven climatic zones of Tamil Nadu. This enabled the department to come up with tree species that were particularly suited to those locations.

One of the major research projects was bio-control agents that could replace pesticides. For example, jatropha plants had certain properties that repelled pests. These could be planted along the boundaries of farms, he said.

Further, he added that the department had carried out research in Salem to identify the sandalwood species that gave the best output. The department had six modern bio-nurseries that together produced nearly 400 tonnes of bio-fertilizer annually.

He was in the city to take part in the Bamboo Growers and Entrepreneurs Meet 2014 organised at the Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding.

Mr. Balaji said that bamboo had the potential to replace the steel in reinforcing roofs and shelters.

The National Highways Authority of India was now constructing modern bus shelters made out of glass and steel. Bamboos could be used to replace the steel in these shelters.

While the project was conceived some years ago, the Forest Engineering Branch of the SFRI had now perfected it, he added.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 3:34:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/research-under-way-to-identify-trees-that-can-grow-in-polluted-areas/article6227587.ece

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