Phytoremediation power of Hemp
In the last decades, Hemp has suffered from his cousin's bad reputation. We, unfortunately, lost sight of all its wonderful properties. Its seeds hold valuable nutrients for our immune system, its stem core can be used to build houses and its fiber can be used to make clothing. The list goes on, I could write a whole paragraph just naming all of its different uses.
Although one of its specific features could be revolutionary; its phytoremediation power.
What is phytoremediation
The concept of phytoremediation is a way to cleans soil, sanitize the water and the air by using plants, algae or mushrooms.
In conjunction with microorganisms of the soil/water/air, plants can reduce the mobility of certain pollutants. The process is simple, the plants absorb the pollutant, fix it in their tissues and thus detoxify and permit the elimination of the toxin.
The cost of phytoremediation is estimated to be 10 to 100 times lesser than a Physico-chemical treatment. It can also be adapted to very large surfaces cleansing up to tens of hectares at the time.
Two important things to consider: Depending on the plant life cycle, the treatment can take up to 3 years and unfortunately, this technique can let out parts of the pollutants. Another factor we have to consider is the toxicity of the pollution, if the toxicity is too high the plants might not be able to grow at all.
Hemp is one of the best phytoremediators because it grows really fast. Regular hemp crops can be harvest three to four times a year. The hemp plant also has very deep roots, therefore, it can clean the soils at a deeper level.
Hemp is also a natural insect repellent and doesn't need pesticides to grow strong. Finally, it can grow on almost any kind of soil and doesn't require many nutrients from it to be healthy.
The Hemp plant has 3 ways to cleans the soil:
This way consists of absorbing all the nutrients and water it needs to grow, throughout this process, the plant also absorbs contaminants from the soil around its roots. These toxins are stored in the roots until the plant dies, degrades and then repeats its process.
This second process happens in the leaves. The plant absorbs the contaminants through its roots and released them into the air through its leaves.
This part is where the plant actually consumes the pollutants, metabolize it and destroy it entirely.
Hemp has been proven to be particularly efficient at cleansing soil contaminated with heavy metals, but it is also able to clean nuclear radiation.
It has been used in the past in Ukraine, near the Chernobyl area, and in Japan following the accident of Fukushima.
Why this is important
Regrettably, today, soil pollution is a common thing. Big industries leaving more non-biodegradable substances behind every year is a common thing.
Even biodegradables substances are a threat to our soil, today. Simply because we produce them faster than they can degrade and thus we create an accumulation of waste.
Soil pollution is a public health care problem as it can contaminate our food chain. These toxins stocked in our soil can make our land infertile, end up in our clean water table or evaporate in the atmosphere.
In the end, time is of the essence, we need to find a better and faster way to decontaminate our soil. Hemp might very well be a strong ally for us in this race against time.