Environmental pollution reaches all latitudes. In the sea, on land, in the sky, microplastics are a polluting plague. How to face this major challenge? One of the ways is, on the surface, very simple. What would help is to plant the tree that could clean up the planet. Which one? The birch.
A team of German scientists discovered an interesting way to clean the soil of microplastics. For this they have the help of betula, a tree species of the betulaceae family. It is commonly called birch.
who did the research? It was carried out by scientists at the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries. They concluded something involving birch trees. They can help fight microplastics that pollute the land.
To test this, the researchers conducted an experiment. It consisted of wetting microplastic particles ranging in size from 5 to 50 micrometers with fluorescent dye. They were then added to containers with soil. In the same place, birch buds were placed.
After five months, the plants were examined microscopically. They found that their root system had absorbed between 5 and 17% of the microparticles.
The author of the study is Kat Austen. She believes that this research still needs to be further investigated. She hopes to determine precisely how effective this tree species is at absorbing microplastics. They also need to evaluate the effect of this on plant health.
Fixing the planet
“This is a pilot study. It suggests that birch has real potential for long-term soil remediation solutions. Including reducing the amount of microplastics in soil and possibly water.”
The tree that could clean up the planet could make a difference. Data from the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries are alarming. More than 400 million tons of plastic are produced worldwide each year. An estimated one-third of all of these end up on land or in freshwater.