by Acad. Vladimir BOLSHAKOV, and Tamara CHIBRIK, Cand. Sc. (Biol.), A. M. Gorky Ural State University
Industry-ravaged soils are turning into barren wastelands, virtual "moonscapes". In the Ural their areas top 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres), all that in a direct proximity to cities and other population centers. A hard case for residents...
This dire situation is neutralized by biological recultivation.
The technology has been developed and tested on the ash dumps of thermal electric power stations and on the ash disposal areas of coal and ore mines.
Many industrial enterprises in the Ural have begotten "company towns", i. e. communities depending on a particular company (plant) for jobs and livelihood. Built on urban outskirts, such enterprises expand and carve out chunks of urban territories proper. Next come pollution and other hazards. This is especially true of thermal power plants operating on high-ash coals and producing ash or ash-and-slag dumps (disposal areas), each hundreds of acres large. This situation holds at many fuel-burning power plants in the Sverdlovsk administrative region, e. g. at Krasnoturinsk, Verkhny Tagil, Kamensk-Uralsky and other electric stations. They act on the environment in a variety of ways, with "dust storms" being the worst case. The wind carries air-dried ash over ambient territories and pollutes them with particulates of ash and heavy metals.
Work on the biological recultivation of power plant ash dumps began in the 1960s by a team of Dr. Vitaly Tarchevsky, of Ural State University. They started by experimental seeding of perennial grasses, and tree- and bush-planting with the aim of selecting an adequate mix of plant species for the conservation of badly fouled ground and obtaining a permanent plant cover and sod. They attached much attention to upgrading the substrate (topsoil) at minimal costs. The first results of this exploratory work were realized in practice.
Thereupon, in th ... Read more