Floating Flowers Clean Pollution in Waterways

Industrial farming, golf courses, and some industries all contribute an incredible amount of nutrient runoff that enters our waterways. This influx of unexpected nutrients can cause algae blooms and otherwise damage the local ecosystem. To combat this damage from runoff a team from the Florida International University created a floating platform that allows flowers to grow while not flooding out their root systems. The flowers they have chosen to grow are ones that are in demand so they can be sold commercially to fund more floating flowers. This is a novel idea that looks promising and they are already looking to expand the project.

We floated 4-by-6-foot (1.2-by-1.8-meter) mats of inexpensive polyethylene foam called Beemats in 620-gallon (2,300-liter) outdoor test tanks that mirrored water conditions of nearby polluted waterways. Into the mats, we transplanted flower seedlings, including zinnias, sunflowers, and giant marigolds. The polluted tank water was rich in nutrients, eliminating the need for any fertilizer. As the seedlings matured into plants over 12 weeks, we tracked the tanks’ improving water quality.

Encouraged by the success of the marigolds in our tanks, we moved our trials to the nearby canals of Coral Gables and Little River. We anchored the floating platforms with 50-pound (22.7-kilogram) weights and also tied them to shore for extra stability. No alterations to the landscape were needed, making the process simple and doable.

Read more.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll To Top