Water conservation

Vedanta Aluminum strengthens its efforts in favor of the conservation of biodiversity

New Delhi, May 22 (IANS): On the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity, Vedanta Aluminium, India’s largest aluminum producer, announced that it is stepping up its efforts to foster biodiversity in its operating areas in Odisha and Chhattisgarh, in the as part of its sustainable development program.

The company has embarked on conservation projects for native bird species, including the construction of birdhouses, artificial nests and birdbaths at several locations in its factories and townships.

Complementing this effort, its Business Units are developing fruit orchards and medicinal plant gardens, reviving butterfly parks and undertaking many other initiatives.

The day also saw Vedanta Aluminum employees kick off the annual cleanup of local water bodies and community ponds, volunteering for the activity.

Vedanta Aluminum’s Lanjigarh operation in Kalahandi district of Odisha is located in an area rich in biodiversity. Over 380 faunal species and 940 floral species have been recorded in the core (within the plant zone) and buffer (up to 10 km from the plant) zones, including native and migratory birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, macrophytes (large aquatic plants), medicinal plants, etc.

The region is also home to 26 flora and fauna species of conservation interest, identified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Similarly, Vedanta Aluminum’s operations in Jharsuguda (Odisha) are home to almost 30 native species of trees and plants, while some Appendix I fauna species like elephant, sloth bear, Indian python , common Indian monitor, and pea fowl also inhabit the area.

BALCO, the subsidiary of Vedanta based in Korba (Chhattisgarh), is also surrounded by rich flora and fauna, recording more than 20 species of flora, 30 species of butterflies, 11 species of invertebrates, 72 species of birds and 18 species of mammals.

Nurturing biodiversity is a key pillar of Vedanta Aluminum’s approach to ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) excellence for sustainable development. Environmental sustainability encompasses water conservation, waste management, air quality control and climate action.

To this end, the company also undertakes extensive annual planting campaigns, deep cleaning of local ponds and water bodies in summer so that they can be naturally recharged and rejuvenated during monsoons, and reclamation and rehabilitation mined areas/abandoned quarries, while also working towards water positivity and carbon neutrality.

Speaking about the company’s approach to biodiversity conservation, Rahul Sharma, CEO, Aluminum Business, Vedanta Limited, said: “At Vedanta Aluminium, our passion for nurturing the vibrant ecosystem of our sites is underpinned by a robust standard of biodiversity policy and management consistent with global standards. Each of our business units has developed a biodiversity management plan, relating to the unique ecosystem, flora and fauna of their respective sites. Starting with bird conservation, we have other interesting projects underway. With these, we aim to add to the bio-wealth of the regions where we operate.”

A testament to Vedanta Aluminum’s biodiversity management efforts, in 2019 its Bodai Daldali bauxite mine in Chhattisgarh was ranked among the top 6 mines out of a total of 180 mines rated worldwide on sustainability practices by the Responsible Mining Index Foundation.

The company has rehabilitated the mined area with millions of native and fruit trees, constructed water ponds/reservoirs for groundwater recharge and check dams to stop runoff. This area has since been identified with many species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and butterflies.