Cannabis Sativa L., also known as hemp, is an extremely versatile plant that offers a wide range of products. In addition to medicinal flowers, it can provide strong fibers for ropes and fabrics, seeds with high nutritional value, and can be use also as insulation material. However, the potential of hemp goes far beyond. This plant possesses an important capability that holds great value for our health and the protection of the planet: phytoremediation.
The roots of this plant are capable of reducing the toxicity of various types of pollutants by extracting and accumulating them within themselves or by degrading them. These phytotechnological techniques, known as phytoextraction, phytodegradation, and phytostabilization, can significantly contribute to soil remediation. In this context, we would like to introduce you to “RiqualifiCanapa,” an Italian association committed to providing services, studying, and conducting research on the important property of hemp in the field of phytoremediation. The goal of “RiqualifiCanapa” is to optimize the phytoremediation cycle, making it ecologically sustainable.
Today more than ever, the issue of land reclamation and environmental protection is of paramount importance, considering the situation in 2023 with over 340,000 contaminated sites in Europe. Despite the existence of numerous environmental regulations, soil pollution remains an unresolved problem that requires special attention. Phytoremediation emerges as a medium to long-term investment (3-10 years) to address these issues.
As mentioned earlier, several scientific studies have demonstrated how hemp is capable of accumulating various heavy metals, such as cadmium, lead, nickel, copper, zinc, and chromium, within its biomass. The “contaminated” hemp can subsequently be reused for the production of fibers for ropes, canapulo for insulation panels and bricks, bioplastics, and biofuels. The heavy metals extracted during the process can be reused in the chemical and mining industry, promoting a circular economy approach.
The hemp plant represents an essential element in a complex system that involves various plant species, fungi, and bacteria. These symbiotic organisms work together for the well-being of the ecosystem, gradually reducing pollutant levels in the soil and making it suitable again for agriculture, forestry, and social use.