We all know that plants are really good at cleaning the air and that’s absolutely a good thing. Nowadays more and more research is looking at using plants to clean more than just the air. Recently, a researcher in Ontario has used plants to clean up pollutants in a brown field site.
“Traditionally, we dig up the contamination and take it to a hazardous-waste dumpsite or incineration facility, but then the soil is lost,” she says. “But, in using phytoextraction … after we pull all the contaminants out, you’ve still got this natural resource of the soil itself.”
The composted material may still need to be disposed of as hazardous waste, but the volume of contaminated matter has been greatly reduced, says Dr. Zeeb.