Mumbai: Dug-up soil during bullet train construction will be reused
Environment Impact Assessment report of project also states that no dumping should be allowed on wetlands, inside forest areas, and any other ecologically sensitive areas
While the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project will have a total of eight tunnels along the entire corridor, with the longest tunnel being 20.375 km long under sea at the Thane creek in Mumbai, the problem of disposal of rock and soil excavated during construction has been a major concern among environmentalists. But authorities implementing the project have plans to use a major portion of the excavated rock and soil for construction.
The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report of the project that was submitted to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF & CC) states that the rock will be used for construction purposes.
The route of the bullet train in Maharashtra
According to the Environment Impact Assessment report, "During the construction of the tunnel under Thane creek, a huge amount of soil and basaltic rock will be excavated. This soil/basaltic rock must be disposed of without damaging the surrounding environment. It is expected that approximately 35,00,000 m3 (35 lakh cubic metres) soil/basaltic rock will be excavated. Therefore, a considerable area will be required for its safe disposal. Depending upon the quality of the released soil/basaltic rocks, it can be used for construction purposes."
The EIA states that for the Thane creek section, the estimated surplus soil/muck is 35,00,000 m3 and it will be within the capacity of the existing disposal site, Thane, Taloja.
As per rough estimation, a truck or dumper can carry 10 cubic meters of rock/muck/soil at a go. This also means that 35,00,000 m3 excavated soil/basaltic rock will be equivalent to 3.5 lakh trucks.
'To be used in construction'
"Efforts shall be made to reuse it to the extent possible like in concrete as blanketing material in railway projects, as filling material for service road, as fill material for other local construction projects. The precise end use will be decided based on contents and quality of the muck generated," states the EIA report.
"In the viaduct section of about 487 km, about 40,26,000 m3 surplus soil shall be generated. Out of this, 27,00,000 m3 shall be used in the construction of maintenance road and the remaining 13,26,000 m3 shall be disposed of at the identified disposal site which comes to about 0.1 million m3 per district, a negligible amount in comparison to the capacity of the existing land fill sites," EIA further states. EIA also states that no dumping should be allowed on wetlands, forest areas, and other ecologically sensitive areas.
'Not sustainable development'
However, environmentalist Stalin D from NGO Vanashakti said, "This is an exercise in absurdity. The very need to execute this project at such a monumental cost to the environment is questionable. No attempt is made to mitigate the loss or even seriously examine if the environmental losses are avoidable. Mindless destruction under fancy project names cannot be called sustainable development. The entire section involving environmentally destructive parts needs to be revised."
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