My blog is dedicated to the exploration of industrial hemp in America including the rich history of all forms of cannabis, the evolving law and politics of hemp and marijuana, the many products made from cannabis and the capacity, real or imagined, of hemp to re-industrialize rural America and revitalize the American family farm.
Monday, March 20, 2017
How Hemp Can Help Clean Up Radiation From Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
Many have heard of the vast amounts of things hemp can do, from paper to clothes, to fuel, and more. But did you know it could be used to clean toxic materials from the soil at Fukushima?
Hemp plants were shown to be effective in cleaning the soil around the site of Russia’s Chernobyl nuclear disaster and were even considered for use near Fukushima.
The process of using plants to clean polluted soil is called phytoremediation. According to a 2014 report from Nation of Change’s Christina Sarich, two members of the mustard family are more frequently used in phytoremediation, but cannabis has shown some promise because of its hardiness to toxins and quick growth rates. Some have even considered using it near Fukushima, reported Mint Press News.
A group of representatives of Consolidated Growers and Processors, PHYTOTECH, and Ukraine’s Institute of Bast Crops experimented in the late 1990s with using industrial hemp, a form of the plant that’s high in fiber but low in psychoactive or medical benefits, near the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, where a great deal of agricultural land is still unusable because of the presence of radiation and heavy metals still lingering from the 1986 meltdown.
“Hemp is proving to be one of the best phyto-remediative plants we have been able to find,” said Slavik Dushenkov, a research scientist with PHYTOTECH.
The Belarusian scientists noted that one added benefit of industrial hemp over other phytoremediation plants is that it can also be used to produce biofuel, potentially adding a second use for the crop after it removes toxins from the soil.
“As with the Chernobyl incident, scientists are finding radioactive emissions and toxic metals–including iodine, cesium-137, strontium-90, and plutonium–concentrated in the soil, plants, and animals of Japan, but also now throughout the United States and all along the West Coast – from Canada to Mexico,” Sarich wrote for Nation of Change.
“As a proven, valuable tool in the fight to repair human-inflicted damage to our soils and ecosystems, hemp could potentially benefit hundreds of thousands of sites across the globe—it is estimated that in the USA alone there are 30,000 sites requiring remediation. As is so often the case, US restrictions on hemp cultivation preclude any large-scale operations from being implemented, and the contaminated sites are largely left unremediated, through lack of both funding and interest on the part of the government.”
Most of us knew about many of the amazing uses for hemp, but now we can add toxic material absorption to the list.