Season 9 Challenges

OPENED ON: 12 MAY 2020  |  CLOSED ON: 12 AUG 2020  |  REWARD: INR 8,00,000
Reward money is paid in exchange of legally acquiring the solution, implementing it to solve the problem and meeting the success criteria. Milestones for paying the reward money would depend upon the complexity of challenge and maturity of the proposed solution, which would be discussed with the solver as soon as the proposed solution is selected by us.
Under Evaluation

Short Description:

Overburden (OB) is the by-product of mining activity. The OB dumps are majorly stabilized by plantation. We have used species identified by the forestry department of the state and by IUCN. We have observed that despite using the species mentioned above, the growth of plantation is not very encouraging. To mitigate this problem, we are looking for a solution that will address the problem.

Challenge Details

Overburden (OB) is the by-product of mining activity.  It is dumped around the mining area in the form of a heap with a predetermined slope of 350 max as permitted by Indian Bureau of Mines. If the OB dumps are not adequately stabilized and maintained, they can pose a safety risk. The composition of the soil of OB dumps consists of Silica, Alumina and small quantities of Phosphorus and Iron. The mining area has a tropical climate with hot and humid summers. The temperature in this region varies from 47.5 C in summer to 5 C in winter. Rainfall in this area is moderate. It ranges from 950 mm to 2500 mm averaging to 1500 mm per annum.

The OB dumps are majorly stabilized by plantation. Plantations also play an important role in biological reclamation through modification of soil characteristic. We have used species identified by the forestry department of the state and by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). These saplings are namely Sal (Shorea robusta), Mahaneem (Melia Azedarach), Karanja (Millettia pinnata), Shishu (Dalbergia sissoo), neem (Azadirachta indica), Krishnachuda (Caesalpinia pulcherrima), Radhachuda (Peltophorum pterocarpum), Chatian (Alstonia scholaris), Arjun (Terminalia arjuna)  etc.

We have observed that despite using the species mentioned above, the growth of plantation is not very encouraging. Around 20-30 % of saplings do not survive after 8-9 months of planting them, or their growth is stalled after growing from few inches to 1-2 feet. We, therefore, have to perform re-plantation every year to replenish the saplings which did not survive. To mitigate this problem, we are looking for solutions that will address either/all of the points mentioned in the requirements section below.

 Options Tried

  • We have tried adding soil enrichment & growth stimulants (Auxins, humic acid and dry leaf mulch) to the plantation zone, but we did not observe any positive results.
  • We have tried adding water retention compounds (Hydrogel) to hold the water near the roots. The results were reasonably good, but not as per the requirement.   

Requirements

  • Increase the life of the above plants
  • Close monitoring of the health of the plants and suggesting corrective actions that should be taken
  • Suggest alternate plants that have a far better life
  • Alternate ways of stabilizing the OB dumps

If the solution provided is for monitoring and suggestions on corrective actions:

  • The solution should enable us to monitor the growth & condition of the saplings & plants continuously or at a predefined interval.  It should alert us in cases of an abnormality and prompt us with pre-emptive actions required to mitigate the problem taking into account the weather conditions and forecasts.

Have any query or need more clarification about this challenge?