Council nod for phytoremediation technique to cleanse Conolly Canal water of metals

Impure?: A CWRDM study had found that Water in Conolly Canal had presence of heavy metals.  

The Kozhikode Corporation council has given approval to the phytoremediation measures undertaken by Mini Pharma in Conolly Canal. Phytoremediation is a scientific technique in which plants with special properties are used to absorb metal content from water to purify it. The first phase of the project will be completed in 45 days.

The plant used is Ludwigia peruviana or Peruvian primrose, a small aquatic plant with yellow flowers found in marshy parts of Wayanad. The plant, according to a study conducted by the Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) in 2006, can absorb metals such as iron, lead, cadmium, chromium, nickel, copper and zinc from water. The technique was introduced to purify water in Conolly Canal from January 1 on an experimental basis, under the aegis of Mini Pharma, a city based agro-medical pharmacy. Water in the canal, where a major cleaning drive was carried out a month ago under the Operation Conolly Canal project, was found to have presence of heavy metals as per a study conducted by CWRDM recently. “If the Corporation succeeds in blocking the drains through which polluted water enters the canal, the plant can be used extensively to convert the canal into a crystal clear waterbody,” said Abdul Letheef of Mini Pharma, former Principal of Government Homoeopathic Medical College in Kozhikode.

However, concerns over the cost of the project remain. “One unit of the plant will cost around ₹400, including all the expenses incurred to procure it and prepare it for aquatic life. To cleanse the 11.2 kilometres of Conolly Canal, the cost will be around ₹10 lakh,” Dr. Letheef said.

Meanwhile, P.S. Harikumar, Senior Principal Scientist at CWRDM, who played a major role in carrying out the study on Peruvian primrose, said that he was not sure if the project would be successful in flowing water. “We conducted the study in a confined environment. I am doubtful about the plants surviving in the flow,” he said. The study was published in National Science Journal in 2015.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 6:31:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/council-nod-for-phytoremediation-technique-to-cleanse-conolly-canal-water-of-metals/article26064792.ece

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