World Environment Day 2021: Turning To The Trees To Purify Our Wastewater

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We have always relied on our trees to purify and rejuvenate our environment, in addition to the fact that it keeps us alive with its produce. And on World Environment Day 2021 we can look towards more innovative use to which nature can help us sustain our lives.

Eucalyptus, salix, and poplar trees have traditionally been used to create biomass energy. Such varieties of trees and also crops have generally relied on freshwater. But studies are on to test the efficacy of greywater, used in dishwashing, laundry, and bathing.

Studies have shown that domestic wastewater contains large traces of nitrates, phosphates, potassium, and sodium. And these trees can take in these pollutants from the water and leave it clean.

In turn, the pollutants provide nutrients to such trees which in turn provide biomass in even larger quantities. This process of searching out pollutants from water and converting it into something useful is called dendromediation. A similar process performed by plants is called phytoremediation. All very noteworthy for World Environment Day 2021.

Saving In Every Which Way Possible To Celebrate World Environment Day 2021

Conventional treatment of wastewater is comparatively more expensive and less effective. Trees such as Dendrocalamus and casuarina can help reduce phosphorus between 18% to 70% and nitrogen by 61% to 76%. Wastewater cuts down on the demand for biological oxygen by 80% to 94%, which would be a significant number for World Environment Day 2021.

The process of Phytoremediation or Dendromediation involves the technique of degradation, extraction, dendrostabilisation, rhizofiltration, dendrovolatilisation, and rhizodegradation.

The techniques of Phytoextraction or Dendroextraction help the root hair absorb the inorganic and organic contaminants. This technique can help recover minerals from sites heavily, though there are doubts about its economic feasibility. 100s of species of trees have been identified that can help extract heavy minerals with their roots by World Environment Day 2021.

Read: Contributing To The World Environment Day 2021: Our Future Needs Our Daily Sacrifices

The Process of Phytodegradation or Dendrodegradation releases compounds that help to degrade pollutants like herbicides and chlorinated solvents. The advantage of this particular method is that the process of degradation and reduction takes place inside the plant or tress and is not dependent on microorganisms.

Phytostabilization or Dendrostabilisation helps the roots withstand the heavy concentration of metals inside polluted waters. The process of absorption, sedimentation, and finally reduction help to immobilize these metal valences. Let us learn more about this for World Environment Day 2021

Phytovolatilization Or Dendrovolatilisation

Through this process, roots absorb the lethal metals through root hairs while also helping transform them into a lesser toxic substance. These absorbed forms of metal are finally removed by evaporation or transpiration. This process is well managed in many species of poplar. But there is the danger of heavy metals getting absorbed by the atmosphere.

Rhizodegradation For World Environment Day 2021

Through this process, organic pollutants that are present in and around the rhizosphere in the polluted water or soil are degraded by the activity of microorganisms. Several compounds like fatty acids, amino acids, nucleotides, flavanone, and several other enzymes get released through the roots and destroy the contaminants present in the rhizosphere.

The method of Rhizofiltration is used in terrestrial or aquatic plants with sturdy root systems. They are planted right at the contaminated spots. They can also be used to eliminate pollution in water through the raft system. This method can also help in removing the radioactive substances present in polluted water.

world environment day 2021

Such natural use of technology helps in two simultaneous functions. While on one hand, it purifies wastewater, it also succeeds in gaining higher levels of biomass from plants and trees, thus leading to immense economic benefits.

There is researched evidence that the k-143 variety of eucalyptus hybrid can acquire a 25% greater growth in biomass when it is irrigated with such polluted water. Salix and poplar trees have shown an increase of 100% to 400% in biomass when treated with domestic waste-water.

Read: World Environment Day 2021: United Nation’s Impactful Campaign

We need to make use of every way possible to grow more trees and reduce the pollutants that have seeped into our land and water for World Environment Day 2021. The potential benefits of using waste-water for certain plants and trees. Waste water that is not sufficiently treated or not properly disposed of constitutes a potential health hazard. And the cost of treatment using conventional methods is prohibitively high. Even when water is treated, it can improve the quality of water and prove immensely beneficial to the environment.

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