Bamboo groves act as Urban Biofilter
Urban Biofilter, a project of environmental advocacy non-profit Earth Island Institute, aims to plant bamboo forests on brownfield sites along industrial and transportation routes. The planted zones are intended to remediate the wastewater they are fed, reduce stormwater runoff and filter gases, contaminants and metal pollutants out of the local airshed. The project also aims to create local jobs and industry through the sustainable harvest of bamboo, which is a quickly regenerating species, for timber production.
The group has implemented two pilot projects so far. Last summer, it held a workshop in Tijuana in which participants lined a wastewater channel with gravel to reduce human exposure to the water and planted willow and bamboo buffer around the channel to filter contaminants from the air and water. The group also organized the volunteer planting of a preliminary patch of bamboo in the Port of Oakland, where residents are five times more susceptible to cancer from diesel particulate matter. Urban Biofilter has plans for a larger scale intervention in the port extending from this first plot.