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Sep 30, 2006 :: Kolkata’s wonder wetlands

For a city of 12 million, Kolkata has no conventional sewage processing system. Human and biological wastes are sustainably handled by nature in 12,500 hectares of living marshes known as East Kolkata Wetlands [EKW]. It is home to 300 ponds producing 13,000 tonnes of fish annually and farms producing150 tonnes of vegetables a day. There’s also a square mile of garbage dump within EKW. People and small wildlife have lived in productive harmony here for over a century. It’s a living lesson for those that do not appreciate the importance of wetlands. Read an exciting profile of EKW.

EKW is in news now because a research team from West Bengal University of Technology has mapped its microbial population and identified 20 bacteria that can remove lead, cobalt, iron, chromium, nickel and silver and also many other chemicals that flow down from industries and tanneries. Some bacteria can degrade oil and some secrete enzymes useful in pharma and soap industries. DownToEarth [subscription required]


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