Italian Farmers Turn to Cannabis to Fight Soil Contamination

marijuana decontaminate soil

Farmers in a region of Italy have a unique use for cannabis, and it has nothing to do with getting high. It seems that the low-THC hemp helps decontaminate polluted soil.

Vincenzo Fornaro says:

“For generations, our family produced ricotta and meat.”

He points to an empty farm that once housed more than 600 sheep. In 2008, Italy’s government found dioxin, a toxic chemical, in Fornaro’s herd and slaughtered them all. The contaminants had traveled to the farm from Europe’s largest steel plant, which sits just a mile from Fornaro’s property.

He was told he could never have grazing animals again, but Fornaro couldn’t be deterred. Instead of giving up, Fornaro planted industrial hemp in the hopes it would suck the contaminants out of the soil. The science is known as phytoremediation.

During phytoremediation, contaminants are absorbed by the fast-growing roots of the cannabis plant, which store and sometimes transform the toxins into a harmless substance. Fornaro believes this is what will save his farm. Fortunately for him, the science is proven. It’s even reported that phytoremediation was used after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster to remove radioactive strontium and cesium. [1]

Source: CBS News

Hemp is giving Fornaro’s livelihood a future and helping to change the world’s perception of marijuana.


[1] CBS News

[2] Merry Jane

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CBS News