Hemp is quite an amazing plant that is well known for its all-around capabilities and thousands of different uses. According to a few estimates, there are as many as 50,000 ways that we can use the plant in order to benefit different communities and the world. Some of the most popular usages of this plant are in plastics, medicines, paper products, feeding live stocks, etc.
However, one of the much lesser-known traits of this all-rounder plant is, it can also clean up radiation. For almost two decades industrial hemp has been grown in the exclusion zone near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, to reduce the toxicity.
Just four years after the explosion, the then Soviet Union administration requested the International Atomic Energy Agency to assess the environmental situation. During the assessment, it was found that the 30 km exclusion zone that surrounds Chernobyl has levels of toxic metals in soils, and tissues of animals and plants.
So, it was decided to reduce soil contamination by using beneficial plants. And various plants were utilized in order to take up the contamination and more recently plants like Sunflower and Hemp are also being used.
Not only Chernobyl, but the rural areas of neighboring Belarus were also affected by the incident, and the authorities of Ukraine have also considered the plant to clean up the mess created by the blast. However, it is unknown if any such programs were ever implemented in Belarus.
Since 2012, farmers of Italy started to use the plant to decontaminate Europe’s one of the most polluted soils. The farmers planted millions of plants and the cultivation soon increased from 3 to 300 hectares. More than 100 farmers are now growing the plant, and this movement eventually became an economic stimulus. Recently a hemp processing plant has started its operations in the region to convert the harvest into the fiber, for the clothing and construction industry. However, it could be years until the residents can once again start to farm their lands, and the cleanup is not to be completed anytime before 2023.
The plant has proven to be beneficial when it comes to cleaning up polluted areas that have been affected by the radiation. According to a number of reports, the plant is extremely beneficial, when it comes to absorbing toxins including heavy metals.
When Fukushima Planned for a Low-Cost Decontamination
After the Fukushima disaster, the Japanese authorities have also considered Hemp to clean up the area. However, due to the criminalization over the plant in Japan, the authorities were unable to use the plant.
It uses the process of phytoremediation to clean up the contaminated area. This process involves very low cost and it is also driven by solar energy. Adding to that, this process is said to be the least harmful method for cleaning up any contaminated soil, because it preserves the environment in a natural state, by using living organisms to address the underlying issue.
Can We Use Hemp to Get Rid of Contamination?
Considering, there are many polluted sites across the length and breadth of the United States in need of immediate clean-up before these lands could be used for housing or anything else. Currently, the government is spending billions of dollars to clean up the toxic soil, which can eventually be cleaned with much lesser costs and in a natural way.
According to researchers, this plant is very much effective when it comes to a very toxic element, named Cadmium, and the contamination due to Cadmium is everywhere. It can be seen in fossil fuels, pesticides, etc.
The best part of all these, plants used to clean toxic elements from soil can also be put to use like it can be used to make biofuel, can be used as insulation or construction material, from the stalks or the seeds not from the leaves, because all the contaminated heavy metals get accumulated in the leaves.
However, you might not want to wear or eat any hemp-derived products that come from contaminated areas. However, this presents one of the burning issues in the medical marijuana circles, as hemp-derived CBD oils are being touted as another substitute for cannabis-derived CBD oils. However, applying CBD oil, which might be contaminated with Cadmium or Cesium may not be a good idea.
So, if you are planning to consume any hemp-related products, then it would be a good idea to know their origin, as you might consume a few toxins that a plant has soaked out of the ground a few days ago. This can be especially harmful when it is concentrated in oil or specifically CBD. Often the CBD concentration can contain many more toxins than the actual plants. So, before consuming Hemp, one needs to ensure that the product comes from an organic firm.