Phytoremediation: plants that clean the soil, water or air

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

Phytoremediation, a decontamination method that emerged in the eighties, basically consists of the use of plants, fungi or algae to decontaminate soil, water or air. It is, in effect, a natural method that uses the same action of plants to treat dirty water, for example wastewater, polluted air or soils that also require recovery actions.

The classes of phytoremediation can range from its applications in different environments (soil, air and water) to, for example, the variety of organisms used, vegetable or other. In this regard, it is worth mentioning three large groups that correspond to micoremediation when fungi are used; phytoremediation when they are algae and, thirdly, what is properly known as phytoremediation.

In this last group vascular plants are used, that is, those that have roots, stem and leaves. They are plants that are characterized by having conductive vessels that make up their vascular system, through which water and nutrients circulate inside. In this Green Ecology article we will talk about phytoremediation: plants that clean the soil, water or air.

How do they work

Apart from their different convenience when implementing them in deamination projects, this type of organisms can decompose toxic waste from hydrocarbons or garbage of a very varied nature (organic waste, rubble, environments where there has been an oil leak, unhealthy water, etc.), acting as highly effective natural filters against organic and inorganic contamination.

In each project there are different needs and ad hoc designs, depending on the purpose pursued, depending on its use. Among other possibilities, the purification of an indoor atmosphere, the reintroduction of contaminated water into nature or, as usual, its reuse to irrigate gardens, fields, feed animals or directly for human consumption can be sought.

Its advantages

  • Phytoremediation allows improve air, soil or water quality in a natural way, which means avoiding the use of chemicals. However, the choice of plants is key to the preservation or recovery of different ecosystems, so it is important to take care of this aspect.
  • Similarly, debugging the environment in question without moving the problem elsewhere is another. fundamental advantage. Unlike other decontamination systems, which consist of using chemicals or moving it to move the problem to another place, phytoremediation represents a much more ecological solution.
  • As great advantages, its effectiveness, safety, profitability, as well as the possibility of applying it to large surfaces in a very varied and scalable way.
  • Its use is particularly advantageous to eliminate the problem of farmland contamination. Not only because they often experience this type of degradation, but also to solve the perennial and thorny issue of food security.
  • In particular, plants can clean soil from degradation relative to hydrocarbons, benzenes, heavy metals, phenols, solvents and other pollutants, and they do so at low cost and widely. Notwithstanding that there are really expensive projects.
  • Your benefits when it comes to decontaminate waters It also constitutes a solution with great potential in order to do the same with this precious and scarce resource, the shortage of which is also a serious concern at a global level.

Some limitations

First of all, the fact that resort to transgenics to improve results. In the event that this genetic manipulation affects the balance of the ecosystem, it would be an inconvenience that could limit its use by making it not recommended.

While being effective, the effectiveness of phytoremediation is still relative. This means that, in practice, there must be certain conditions to be able to apply successfully. Some of them are box, as easy to deduce as is the survival capacity of the plant itself.

The reason is simple: no matter how much the plant can absorb, metabolize, volatilize or stabilize pollutants present in soil, air or water, it will always find a limit: its own. things like this, the contaminations that exceed those levels they will not be amenable to dealing with this method. Without forgetting that there are plants, fungi or algae with greater or lesser resistance and adaptability.

Because it is a natural method, its rhythm is not instantaneous. Quite the contrary, phytoremediation is a process that normally requires a long period of time. Only in the long term can most damaged ecosystems be renewed, although the result can sometimes be accelerated by the aforementioned transgenic plants and the complementary use of bacteria.

Finally, soils contaminated to a significant depth, which the roots do not reach, could not be recovered with this system either. And, be that as it may, as much as phytoremediation goes to the rescue of the environment, the best solution is always prevention.

Logically, it is not a matter of trusting in the good faith and will of those who pollute (industrial, domestic activities, etc.) but of create a regulation and promote a model of society that minimizes this disastrous pollution that affects us at all levels.

It is true that they have developed conventional methods that are shown to be ineffective, and that, even worse, their application could lead to unknown results, altering our habitats in an unsuspected way. In this context, despite its limitations, phytoremediation does not stop evolving, constituting a hopeful alternative echo that does not stop giving us good surprises.

If you want to read more articles similar to Phytoremediation: plants that clean the soil, water or air, we recommend that you enter our Pollution category.

You will help the development of the site, sharing the page with your friends
This page in other languages: