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October 15, 2009

NEIST scientists develop crude oil


From our Correspondent

JORHAT, Oct 15: A group of scientist of Biotechnology Department of North East Institute of Science and Technology (NEIST) lead by Dr Neelima Saikia, have developed a reclamation process of crude oil contaminated soils and have taken up a project to set up three eco parks in the crude oil affected sites for the first time in the country. The scientists’ team has initially taken up the project in the crude oil infected areas in Amguri and Geleki respectively.

It is matter of fact that, as well as the other parts of the world, the oil industry of Asom generates large quantities of oily and viscous residues, which are formed during drilling, production, transportation and refining. These residues called oily sludge containing high percentage of oil, water, solids and many other compounds. Besides sludge, degraded soils are further associated with spilled crude oil, drilling mud and many other chemicals. The water associated with crude oil also contains a number of dissolved organic and inorganic materials including heavy metal. Further, spilled crude oil completely changes the biochemical nature of soil. They cause serious threat to the flora and fauna of the drill sites. This apart, certain portion of the crude oil is leached or percolates down to the rhizosphere region of the soil causing further damage to the soil health. In such degraded soil with high percentage of oil, seed germination, root growth and shoot development is not possible. As a result no vegetation occurs in those areas for years together.

In this regard, the NEIST scientists have made an approach to reduce the percentage of hydrocarbon in oil and oily sludge contaminated soil and to develop vegetation after treating the samples with bioformulation. The technology has already reclaimed some of such degraded sites with considerable good results. Presently, the scientists team is engaged in the bioremediation of abandoned drill sites. Here they have planted some good numbers of economically important timber yielding plants with an objective of developing all the sites into eco-parks. They have been also organizing awareness programmes on a regular basis to appraise the general masses about the importance of environment protection. Talking to The Sentinel, Dr Neelima Saikia said, "We are happy to announce that the technology developed by us is ready for commercialization. Therefore, unemployment problem will be solved if our educated youth comes out to take up this type of challenging work". (To be continued) THE SENTINEL

Part 2 here

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