Constructed wetlands

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Overview:

Constructed wetlands emerge as a promising approach, offering not only effective treatment but also environmental and economic benefits.

About Constructed wetlands:

  • These are engineered structures designed to replicate the functions of natural wetlands.
  • They are composed of meticulously chosen vegetation, soil and water, orchestrated to facilitate a seamless process of purification.
  • Constructed wetlands are typically divided into two categories:
    • Subsurface flow (SSF): These wetlands direct wastewater through gravel beds or porous media, promoting microbial activity that degrades organic matter.
    • Surface flow (SF): These wetlands demonstrate their aesthetic appeal above the water’s surface, with gently flowing streams and lush vegetation. 
  • Objective: To convert pollutants into benign compounds through natural processes.
  • Unlike conventional concrete tanks, these wetlands foster biodiversity, welcoming a diverse array of life forms — ranging from microorganisms to aquatic plants and even birds — to engage in the purification process.
  • India boasts several remarkable locations where constructed wetlands are utilised for wastewater treatment. 
  • The Kolkata East Wetlands in West Bengal, designated as a Ramsar site, feature a vast network of natural and constructed wetlands. 
  • Benefits
    • Cost-Effectiveness: In contrast to traditional treatment facilities, constructed wetlands frequently offer a more economical option for construction and upkeep. 
    • Environmental benefits: In addition to their primary role in wastewater treatment, constructed wetlands offer supplementary environmental advantages. They function as habitats for a wide array of plant and animal species, promoting biodiversity conservation.
    • Scalability and adaptability: Constructed wetlands are flexible in their scalability, able to be adjusted to fit various industrial operations and spatial limitations. 

Q1: What Are Microbes?

Microbes are organisms that are too small to be seen without using a microscope, so they include things like bacteria, archaea, and single cell eukaryotes — cells that have a nucleus, like an amoeba or a paramecium. Sometimes we call viruses microbes too.

Source: Constructed wetlands are nature’s ingenious solution for wastewater treatment in India