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Vetiver System and Pollution Control - The Vetiver "Bio-Lung"

Monday, April 19, 2010

This image shows  how you might view vetiver  as a "lung" or "gill" when grown on a pontoon on a effluent pond or a highly polluted body of water, or as the key plant in a constructed wetland.  This vetiver bio-lung has been shown under many research and field situations to remove polluting nutrients, heavy metals, agricultural chemicals (fertilizers and pesticides), BODs, and most recently antibiotics.  

Stephanie Smith from Michigan Tech writes" “We wanted to see if the vetiver would uptake antibiotics, because if you give these antibiotics to cows, 70 percent is excreted in active form,” Smith says. “We worry about them leaching into the groundwater, getting into drinking water and compounding the problem of antibiotic resistance. At the end of the 12-week study, all of the tetracycline and 95.5 percent of the monensin had disappeared from the hydroponic solution. Tests showed that the vetiver had taken and metabolized both drugs up into the plant tissue. The results are preliminary, but they show that vetiver holds promise for remediating antibiotics in wastewater".  Nice work Stephanie!!  

I have previously posted on this blog how vetiver can clean up urban waste water and sewage - just a couple from a number of posts on the topic.

Earlier research by Sylvie Marraci has shown that vetiver will take up and break down atrazine.

I was watching a PBS program about frogs and their threatened extermination due to chemicals.  In my area the Puget Sound fishery and salt water marine life are threatened by antibiotics, birth control hormones and a host of other human generated chemicals, all ultimately effecting humans.

In India millions of dollars are being spent to clean up waste effluent that pours daily into India's large rivers.  Most of these funds are wasted, and do not deal with the original source of the waste.

Vetiver has  great potential for reducing the chemicals in waste water - particularly close to source where the scale is manageable.  It would be good if the many companies advising and helping to spend tax payers money were to look at some slower cost solutions such as the Vetiver System.  Particularly in poor countries.


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