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Soil reinforcement by coconut fibre geotextiles

Coir, a by-product from coconut husk, has shown distinct properties like high strength, stiffness, bulkiness, and resistance to soil moisture and microbes due to significant amount of lignin. The institute has adopted an innovative application of raw coconut fibre products in the field of geotextiles. The products, geotextile and geonet were developed and used for protection of a river bank in a village with the help of a self help group. Villagers produced nearly 10,000 m2 and 7,500 m2 of the geotextiles and geonet, respectively and they have applied the materials for reconstructing of a part of the bank of river Brahmani under NREGS scheme. Approximately 70 persons per day were employed for 30 days for the reconstruction of the earthen bund and the work was completed in May 2010. On reinforcement of the bund with coconut geotextiles, the embankment survived even after a heavy rainfall in July-October 2010. The performance of coconut geotextiles showed that for next consecutive years the reinforcement would directly result in prevention of soil erosion in the dam. The cost of the construction of bund can be reduced to Rs 80-100/m2 by the application of geo-textiles. It could also lead to development and application of more geotextiles made with unretted coconut fibre in a huge quantity, which is still considered as a very low value product due to its limited conventional applications.