The Hemp crop has healed the soil and water after nuclear meltdowns.
On the morning of April 26, 1986, a small town in the former Soviet Union was the site of a nuclear explosion that literally shook the earth.
The historic accident at Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Reactor 4 in the Ukraine caused severe radioactive contamination. Families within a 30-km zone of the power plant were evacuated, and in the months that followed, extensive contamination was discovered in areas up to 100 km from the site. Scientists are hopeful that plants may play a key role in cleaning up some of the contamination.
In 1989, three years after the explosion, the Soviet government asked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to assess the radiological and health situation in the area surrounding the power plant. Among the most significant findings were radioactive emissions and toxic metals--including iodine, cesium-137, strontium, and plutonium--concentrated in the soil, plants, and animals.
Such substances are potentially harmful to human health. For example, although iodine tends to disappear within a few weeks of exposure, it can be inhaled or ingested and then accumulated in the thyroid gland, where it delivers high doses of radiation as it decays. Since 1991, the Canadian Nuclear Association has noted a marked increase in the incidence of thyroid cancer in the area surrounding the nuclear accident. Cesium-137, radioactive cesium with a mass number of 137, can enter the food chain and deliver an internal dose of radiation before it is eliminated metabolically.
Apparently these toxic substances entered the food chain via grazers, such as cows and other livestock, that fed on plants grown in contaminated soils.
The toxins then accumulated and concentrated in the meat and milk products eventually consumed by humans. Additionally, wild foods, such as berries and mushrooms, are expected to continue showing elevated cesium levels over the next few decades.
To prevent further spread of these toxins, it was determined that livestock should be allowed to feed only on uncontaminated plants and on plants not tending to accumulate toxic metals within their tissues. Then a soil cleanup method was employed using green plants to remove toxins from the soil. This technique is phytoremediation, a term coined by Dr. Ilya Raskin of Rutgers University's Biotechnology Center for Agriculture and the Environment, who was a member of the original task force sent to examine food safety at the Chernobyl site.
Phytoremediation is a process that takes advantage of the fact that green plants can extract and concentrate certain elements within their ecosystem. For example, some plants can grow in metal-laden soils, extract certain metals through their root systems, and accumulate them in their tissues without being damaged. In this way, pollutants are either removed from the soil and groundwater or rendered harmless.
Cannabis L. Sativa. (Hemp)
In 1998, Phytotech, along with Consolidated Growers and Processors (CGP) and the Ukraine's Institute of Bast Crops, planted industrial hemp, Cannabis, for the purpose of removing contaminants near the Chernobyl site.
Cannabis is in the Cannabidaceae family and is valuable for its fiber, which is used in ropes and other products. This industrial variety of hemp, incidentally, has only trace amounts of THC, the chemical that produces the "high" in a plant of the same genus commonly known as marijuana.
Overall, phytoremediation has great potential for cleaning up toxic metals, pesticides, solvents, gasoline, and explosives. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that more than 30,000 sites in the United States alone require hazardous waste treatment. Restoring these areas and their soil, as well as disposing of the wastes, are costly projects, but the costs are expected to be reduced drastically if plants provide the phytoremediation results everyone is hoping for.
Plants such as cannabis break down organic pollutants and stabilize metal contaminants by acting as filters or traps. “Hemp is proving to be one of the best phyto-remediative plants we have been able to find,” said Slavik Dushenkov, a research scientist with Phytotech.
Research by the Polish Institute of Natural Fibres released in 1995 showed that high levels of heavy metals in soil do not impair cannabis growth, and that yield and fibre quality do not differ from those obtained on regular soils.
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.
(CGP: PO Box 2228, Monterey, California, 93942-2228; tel (888) 333-8247; email@example.com; www.congrowpro.com)
(Phytotech: tel (732) 438-0900; fax: (732) 438-1209; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.phytotech.com)
US Cannabis Control Law affects Japan’s Fukushima Clean-Up.
Following the devastating environmental damage caused by the Fukushima meltdown, Japan is considering using hemp to aid their cleanup 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.
Asking for help from Hemp.
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 the valuable tool in the fight to repair human-inflicted damage to our soils and ecosystems:
revive….I think it has the…potentiality to purify the environment…I believe hemp fields will bring the eradication effect” – Dr. Masaru Emoto
of Reactors 5 and 6 came to a grinding halt after the explosion.