Have you heard of phytoremediation, or decontamination of soil? The combination of Ancient Greek “Phyto” or Plant with a bit of Latin “Remedium” to mean plants that clean or restore the balance of the soil and air. And guess which plant is the best at doing this? You got it. Hemp.
After the 1986 Chernobyl Disaster it was discovered that certain plants absorb radiation, heavy metals and other manmade toxins as part of their natural cycle. Hemp is rather unique because about 75% of the plant remains viable for safe production of many different products from the stalks and seed after it does a rather magnificent job cleaning up all sorts of nasty chemicals and toxins from the soil.
Hemp, the hero of Chernobyl
For over a decade, industrial hemp growing in proximity to the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Pripyat, Ukraine has been helping to reduce soil toxicity. Slavik Dushenkov, a research scientist with Phytotech, one of the organisations behind the hemp plantings, stated that “hemp is proving to be one of the best phyto-remediative plants we have been able to find”.
In neighbouring Belarus, much of the rural land was contaminated, and authorities there are also pursuing the use of hemp in an attempt to clean up the soil. The harvest produced will be turned into ethanol; 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.
US imposed and outdated Cannabis Control Law affects Japan’s clean-up efforts
Following the devastating environmental damage caused by the Fukushima meltdown, Japan is considering using hemp to aid their clean up efforts. However, due to the Cannabis Control Law forced into Japanese law by the occupying U.S. powers in 1948, hemp may only be grown under license, which are highly restricted and difficult to obtain.
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. And let’s not forget that the radioactive waste from the Fukushima disaster is now washing up on America and Canada’s west coast.
Hemp can help
In this video, Dr. Masaru Emoto talks about industrial hemp as a solution to the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, and may help provide some more answers to any lingering questions on why hemp is such a proven and valuable tool in the fight to repair human-inflicted damage to our soils and ecosystems.
“It is the suggestion to plant a lot of hemp in the land of Fukushima. Hemp is prohibited in almost all places in the world, but I am supporting the movement for hemp to revive….I think it has the…potentiality to purify the environment…I believe hemp fields will bring the eradication effect” – Dr. Masaru Emoto
Watch the full video below with English subtitles. Tell us your thoughts on the eradication effect hemp can bring to polluted soils and ecosystems on social media or in the comments section below.