Phytoremediation: An eco-friendly approach towards clean and green future
Shivani Ranjan and Sumit Sow
Soil contamination with toxic metals resulting from global industrialization is a serious environmental issue. Industrial activities such as mining of ore, discharge of wastewater, excess application of fertilizer and pesticide application have led to contamination of environment with heavy metals such as cadmium, lead, mercury, copper, arsenic, copper, zinc etc. Complete degradation of heavy metals is not possible and thus they continuously accumulate in the environment leading to great threat to life on the earth. Many human health risks are associated with the entry of heavy metals in the food chain. Thus, remediation of heavy metals from contaminated sites is essential to reduce the negative impact of toxic metals to ensure a safe environment for future generation. Conventional techniques involve use of chemicals for cleaning contaminated sites which reduces productivity of soil. Phytoremediation is an emerging technology that uses green plants to clean up or remove the contaminants from the environment. It is known by various names such as agro-remediation, green remediation, vegetative remediation, green technology and botano remediation. It involves several mechanisms such as phytoaccumulation, phytostabilization, phytovolatilization and phytodegradation. Phytoremediation is a cost effective, socially acceptable and environment friendly technology for decontaminating heavy metal polluted sites. It is important to raise awareness of this technology to enhance its acceptability as a global sustainable technology.