Role of Higher Plants in Remediation of Metal Contaminated Sites

Author(s): Neetu Malik and A. K. Biswas

Due to rapid industrialization, modern agriculture and other anthropogenic activities, heavy metal pollution in soil and water has become a serious threat to the human and animal health and well-being of a nation. The use of higher plants in remediation of metal contaminated sites, known as phytoremediation, is gaining worldwide importance due to its low cost involvement and eco-friendliness of the method. A great body of literature exists in this aspect and quite a good number of plants have been identified worldwide which are hyper accumulators of various heavy metals. This paper discusses different remediation techniques with special emphasis on phytoremediation and its relative advantage over others. Phytoremediation is an energy efficient, aesthetically pleasing method of remediating sites with low to moderate levels of contamination and it can be used in conjunction with other more traditional remedial methods as a finishing step to the remedial process.

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