All plants are somewhat effective in cleaning the air, water and soil that contains them, but some are better than others in specific environments, so here we'll look at 3 diverse plants that are perfectly suited to aiding us in surviving a water crisis by providing water pollution solutions. Its a good idea to duplicate Mother Nature when searching for a resolution to any challenges we have that concern the environment and using these 3 plants, Sunflowers, Duckweed and Cattails, as a water pollution solution is inspired.
My first introduction to this idea came when I was searching for advice on aquaponics and found out about duckweed, it is a fast growing plant that put in your aquaponics greenhouse to provide food for the fish. The other properties it has is why it made it onto this list.
Why are we using Duckweed as a solution to our water pollution problem.
The plant called Duckweed (Lemna minor L.) has many uses.
It grows extremely fast, in the best conditions, it has been known to double its weight in in 24 hours making it an excellent option for food production and as a biomass for fuel, grown in the right conditions its starch content is higher than corn and when you distill the duckweed it makes perfectly good ethanol.
The plant can take away excess phosphorous, nitrogen, and other harmful material from the water. Bio mining is another way to use it. The idea involves digging up contaminated subsoil and infusing it with water and then raising the duckweed on top where it then extracts the phosphate, down to the tiniest particles, from the water and then itself is harvested and the phosphate is reclaimed. The sediment that remains can also be used for alternative things.
There is a great deal of exploration of the uses for duckweed, it is a useful option to remove harmful materials from the water and then it's biomass is put to use for animal feed, distilling into ethanol, and for fertilizer and the list goes on. All around Duckweed is a great, small plant that can enable us to survive a water crisis by giving us a water pollution solution.
Why use Cattails as a solution to our water pollution problem.
The second plant, Cattails (Typha spp), we are going to look at in our goal to procure a water pollution solution to survive a water crisis. Using cattails an engineer has succeeded in doing just that, his name is Jeremiah Jackson, Ph.D., P.E., created a low tech version of a natural water filtering system that could be manmade with local materials. With sand and cattails that were planted 1 foot apart in about 12 sq. ft., there was a reduction in the amount of arsenic from recorded levels ussually found in areas such as rural India to levels less than what the WHO considers to be safe for human use. At an estimated cost of $0.21 for the treatment of 1000 gallons compared to the typical cost of removing arsenic which can range anywhere from, $53 to $300 per 1000 gal.
Cattails have long been used for remediation of water, Cattails are an aggressive species and are sometimes considered invasive however they are a superb water cleaner and if they are to be removed they should be removed by mechanical means and checked for pollutants.
Why are we using Sunflowers as a water pollution solution.
Sunflowers ( Helianthus sp) are exceptional for taking up contaminants and storing them in their roots. The Sunflower is considered a natural hyper-accumulator, it is a plant that can take up large amounts of pollutants without harm to itself. Sunflowers can remove chromium, copper, manganese, lead and zinc from the soil and prevent it from flowing into the local water table.
In the Feb 29 1996 Wall Street Journal an article documenting how Phytotech, a NJ company developed a strain of sunflowers that could take up even more toxic material then normal sunflowers. These sunflowers were planted on a piece of styrofoam in a pond that was near Chernobyl and after 12 days they measured the levels of cesium and strontium concentrations in the roots and found the levels to be 8000 times and 2000 times, respectively, more than what remained in the water. Although, it seems that the sunflowers did not work out nearly so well in Fukishima, perhaps more scientific investigation is mandated to find out why the different parameters of each environment No matter what, there is enough information out there to say emphtically that plants clean water.
There is an enormous amount of information on the internet regarding water pollution solutions and how we are able to survive a water crisis, a great deal more than what can be documented here. Certainly with the proper use of our natural resources we should be able to fix up the environment in a non-destructive way and perhaps learn a few things about balancing our wants with the finite resources of our planet.
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For more information on the best way to find clean sources of water. Check out these articles. You will find them very helpful.
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