|Photo Credit: Environment Protection Agency|
Soil pollution is a serious issue, which causes harmful effects to our agriculture and our health. The solution to this problem can be highly expensive; however, one solution is available that is cost-effective. Phytoremediation is a solution where the use of green plants stabilizes and reduces contamination in soils. Certain plants are able to remove or break down chemicals by the roots absorbing contaminated soil or ground water. Once the absorption takes place, the plant converts the chemicals to less harmful chemicals and can convert them into vapors that are released to the air or store the contaminant in the stem or leaves. There are many beneficial factors with this method. It increases the use of natural plants and brings attractiveness the community or area, as well as better air quality. There is less labor, because the plant does most of the cleanup, rather than using heavy equipment.
There is an example of phytoremediation in Oregon located in Clackamas. It’s called the Oregon Poplar Site and it planted hybrid trees to remediate contaminations in the ground water. They have received samples that concluded the trees were removing volatile organic chemicals. This shows that this technology can be a cost-effective solution to our rising soil pollution issue.
By: Michael Nguyen