Using Garbage to Rebuild Tired Soil
Soil not only helps us grow crops, it holds on to carbon and filters water. But over time soil gets tired, it becomes ineffective at doing those things. The fab soil project at the University of Plymouth in the UK is working on different ways to re-energize tired dirt.“We're trying to create a soil that performs even better than a natural soil because we can actually adapt its functions and the constituents of the soil so that could have global opportunities for food security, for flood management, and we would like to think that people could take a soil like that, and use it themselves and feeling that they're contributing to sustainability.”As part of their research they're working with the Eden Project, a collection of bio-domes meant to preserve exotic plants. It's a closed environment so workers here have been making their own soil since the project began in 2000.“Across the entire site, our soil depth is about well no more than a meter, anywhere across sites, so it's quite amazing really the artificial soil supports the plant life you see today in Eden.”
The Eden Project and the Plymouth team are experimenting with adding all kinds of recyclable green waste into tired soil to get it back to work quicker.“The abilities to be able to take a project that's a waste from one industry and actually turn it into a bespoke recipe soil for an area that requires restoration either because it's a mined famous even project walls or other degradation that has occurred in that area means that not only you're helping to restore that area but you're also using a product that otherwise would be just going to landfill.”It's a three-year project and the hope is to create a soil that can be used to increase crop yields all over the world and it can't come fast enough.The UN says about a third of the world's top soil has been degraded through overuse.
Kevin Enochs VOA news.