Countering contamination with cattails
Cattails, those wetland mainstays, are a becoming a popular tool for use in phytoremediation, the use of plants to remove and control environmental pollutants. Arsenic, pharmaceuticals, even chemicals from explosives–cattails have been used in absorbing all of them. This sounds promising to us. While the water in the creeks and wetlands at the Freshkills Park site is no dirtier than most other New York City waterways, the sediment in them is most likely polluted. We’re trying to develop research partnerships that can help us, among other things, test the capacity of clean-up techniques like phytoremediation. Maybe cattails could be a subject for that research–though much of the potential population onsite are currently crowded out by invasive crowds of phragmites australis.
Researchers at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University are even looking at turning cattails into a source of biofuel. What can’t these things do?
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