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This week Sir David Attenborough has called for humanity to “work with nature rather than against it”. The simple statement echoes the fundamental principles upon which Geobind was founded –

work with nature

Sir David Attenborough

Why import quarried stone long distances or modify soils in a detrimental way? Geobind can subtly modify soil properties on a temporary basis, restoring soils to their natural conditions after completion of works.

 

Surface soils form an important part of the global ecosystem and their protection and retention is paramount to the battle against global warming as we discuss below.

 

In 2017, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has released a map demonstrating that the top 300mm of global soil deposits contain twice the carbon contained in the entire atmosphere. Subsequently the European Environment Agency’s (EAA) latest report published a report in 2019 highlighting the importance of soil stewardship in halting and reversing climate change and reminding us that “healthy soils keep the carbon underground”.

 

These recent references demonstrate that our surface soil deposits are increasingly being recognised as a key commodity in the battle against increasing atmospheric CO2 levels. The importance of surface soils as a carbon repository is not fully appreciated as is the need for proper management, a feature of any finite resource.

 

Surface soils in conjunction with plants have the ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere essentially storing it. So for us to diminish the volume of these soils by either intentional removal from the eco-system, (perhaps as waste products of construction), or through human influenced erosion, can impact the long term ability of these soil deposits to help us to reduce the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. The very same effects of a warming global climate caused by these greenhouse gases then compounds and accelerates the initial problems; somehow, we need to break this spiral by having a globally joined up action plans. Key to this must be – better land management practice to prevent the degradation and desertification of surface soil deposits due to human activities.

 

The Role of the Construction Industry

The default removal and replacement of surface soils with quarried stone for the construction of temporary access roads, haul roads, site compounds and working platforms  is often seen as a ‘cleaner’ solution  compared to using  traditional lime and cement soil stabilisation solutions. This perhaps due to a perceived lower embodied carbon. We cannot however overlook the fact that two ecosystems are damaged to allow this, the first being the quarry where the stone aggregate is extracted and the second, either the over densification of the soil caused by placing imported stone upon it or where native soils are removed from the site. The removed soils are often landfilled in the process causing a breakdown in the established ecosystem with global impacts being an irrefutable but unintended consequences.

 

work with nature

Decommissioned Geobind Soil Enhanced Compound

The in-situ use of these very same soils in the construction phase and their ultimate return to their pre-existing condition is now a viable and proven alternative approach using the Geobind solution.

 

Geobind improves a number of environmental metrics when used for temporary works. The in situ, dust free treatment of site soils removes the need for the import of large volumes of primary aggregate. This in turn reduces vehicle movements and in tandem the associated embodied energy, thereby helping to reduce the overall carbon footprint of projects.

 

The comparison of traditional stone solutions with the patented GEOBIND® process has been independently verified with reductions in works carbon footprints of up to 50% demonstrated. The positive benefits on the environment of these simple changes to default solutions is apparent for all to see.

 

The Geobind system’s reversible nature is often overlooked as being a source of environmental benefit beyond those associated with returning areas to their previous use as agricultural land. Restoration of soil pH and nutrients which can be fully achieved with GEOBIND® Soil Enhancement allows the surface soil ecosystem to continue its important role as a growing medium immediately after the temporary works are completed. Importantly it means the soil carbon stores are not diminished and they can continue to contribute to the retention of carbon within the surface soil carbon repository.

 

Traditional lime and cement soil stabilisation solutions are known to elevate the soil pH levels at times to such an extent that irreversible damage is caused to the soils thereby precluding the re-growth of healthy plants. This would mean that the future opportunity to use these degraded soils as part of the global carbon repository is lost.

 

Geobind is arguably at the forefront of environmental and sustainable construction practice. Not only does it help to reduce construction CO2 emissions, costs and programme time but it can also eliminate the need for plastic reinforcing grids and synthetic geotextiles – the scourge of our modern environment.

 

Soil Enhancement with patented GEOBIND® is a proven solution that considers the whole picture when considering the  temporary works sector, with solutions that balance all aspects of the environment – ultimately helping to prevent the continued downward spiral of global warming impacts.

 

GEOBIND® in contract with our planet

 

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