The capacity of aquatic macrophythes for phytoremediation and their disposal with specific reference to water hyacinth
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The actual amount of fresh water readily accessible for use is <1 % of the total amount of water on earth, and is expected to shrink further due to the projected growth of the population by a third in 2050. Worse yet are the major issues of water pollution, including mining and industrial waste which account for the bulk of contamination sources. The use of aquatic macrophytes as a cost-effective and eco-friendly tool for phytoremediation is well documented. However, little is known about the fate of those plants after phytoremediation. This paper reviews the options for safe disposal of waste plant biomass after hytoremediation. Among the few mentioned in the literature are briquetting, incineration and biogasification. The economic viability of such processes and the safety of their economic products for domestic use are however, not yet established. Over half of the nations in the world are involved in mining of precious metals, and tailings dams are the widespread legacy of such activities. Thus, the disposal of polluted plant biomass onto mine storage facilities such as tailing dams could be an interim solution. There, the material can act as mulch for the establishment of stabilizing vegetation and suppress dust. Plant decomposition might liberate its contaminants, but in a site where containment is a priority.
- RESEARCH: Byrne, M