Natural filters: UT researchers use plants to remove environmental pollution
May 28, 2008
Pollution has long been identified as a culprit for many of today’s ills. Now researchers at The University of Toledo are turning the tables by enlisting plants and creating wetlands to remove pollution from the environment and finding solutions to environmental problems caused by older landfills.
As part of the research effort, UT will celebrate the creation of the Environmental Remediation and Restoration Experimental Park Friday, May 30, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Stranahan Arboretum. UT President Lloyd Jacobs will give remarks at 2 p.m., followed by UT environmental researchers and concluding with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur at about 3:10 p.m.
“Almost $4 million has been received through the U.S. Department of Agriculture for research on phytoremediation — the use of plants for the treatment of environmental contaminants,” said Dr. Daryl Dwyer, UT associate professor of environmental sciences. “This money supports research in several departments for the purpose of finding solutions to local environmental problems. The lessons learned here can be used to solve problems on a global scale.
“One important result has been the design of a natural cover for the King Road Landfill that will both save Lucas County taxpayers millions of dollars and restore habitat for Oak Openings flora and fauna,” he said.
Dwyer also highlighted examples of creating wetlands to remove pollution from Maumee Bay State Park and arsenic from former industrial sites.
“The experimental park at Stranahan Arboretum will be a focus point for testing constructed wetlands that help us find cheaper and greener ways to clean up pollution that exists around us. The goal is to restore wetlands that once existed to function as natural filters for all kinds of pollution.”
The free, public event is hosted by the Stranahan Arboretum and the Provost's Program in Academic Excellence.