Apr 22
Trash to Take-Off
Trash to Take-Off
An ESG initiative by L&T at the Delhi Airport project helps all stakeholders
'The stone that was rejected has become the cornerstone.’ Add more stones, and this line can be loosely applied to an innovative initiative that L&T has adopted in the ongoing expansion of the Delhi International Airport (Phase 3A).
As with any construction project, a huge quantity of waste soil was generated by the various processes employed to execute the project – chiefly, excavation. This posed two monumental challenges: storage of the waste soil prior to disposal, and the disposal itself. The available storage space was insufficient, and disposal would be time-consuming as well as expensive in terms of both cost and carbon footprint.
In parallel, good-quality soil was required for use in the project. This was in short supply and the cost for procuring and transporting such soil to the construction site was high.
On mulling over the problem at hand, L&T’s Transportation Infrastructure team came up with an innovative solution – repurposing the waste soil and using it in the construction.
Mobilising normal screening plants at both airside (aprons, bays, runways, etc.) and the city-side of the airport, the team sifted the waste soil and removed all unwanted materials from it.
Between August 2021 and August 2023, an impressive 432,377 Cum of screened soil was repurposed and reused as sub-grade material for airport works such as runways, aprons and perimeter roads.
This method of producing useable soil brought many benefits. Costs were saved as good soil did not have to be procured and transported to the site, and only 30% of the soil excavated had to be disposed of. The savings on fuel helped reduce carbon emissions that would have occurred had more transport been used.
Converting waste soil into a valued resource also helps preserve the good soil that would have otherwise been excavated. The amount of soil saved was 2,05,882 cubic metres, thus helping reduce land degradation.
In the success of this initiative, it is seen how being environmentally-friendly benefits all stakeholders – including the general public. As for L&T’s project team, they clinched the DELTA Award 2022 for this initiative.


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