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Could the vetiver plant save New Orleans?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 1

Hurricane Katrina's effect to New Orleans, located in southern Louisiana will never be forgotten. The devastation,loss of lives and property left the world gaping.The hurricane is recorded as the worst natural disastor in Americas history. leaving over 1800 persons mission or dead.

From the onset of the disastor, the United States government has been weighing in options to come up with mitigating options to prevent or rather prevent such occurrances in future should another nature strike again.

According to Environmental Scientists , nature has ways to tame itself, human beings just get into the way.

A study in the use of  Chrysopogon zizanioides or commonly referred to as vertiver plant, in India and China has seen a success in flood control. India's monsoon season, a four month season characterised with heavy raining and resultant flooding over time has seen devastating results just like North America's hurricanes. How have the Indians curbed this?

Climatic uncertainities over the centuries made different culture device different control mechanisms.Through civilization many cultures have adopted and tamed the environment many ways. We can learn from them.

Shanon Mudemba a scientist from Southern University in Louisiana argues that we can adopt the same flood control measures used in India and China to control or check flooding within the lower Louisiana. The use of vertiver technology would be a step to tackle the issue as we " search" for a lasting  solution to prevent such a disastor occurring in future once and for all.

What is its morphology? Simple, Chrysopogon zizanioides grows 1.5 meters above the ground, this helps in space control horizontally. Moreover, much of the plants growth is underground with the roots growing upto 5 meters underground. This helps in soil stability and soil conservation preventing soil break-up causing siltation from erosion.

With the low breadth, the plant also acts as a soil collection point. Its like an army of several soldiers standing up to oppose an oncoming enemy. It acts as a sieve to debri filled flood. This is also a sieve separating water from silt and soil.

Why not in Louisiana?

Vertiver plant can be used in lower Louisiana in flood control and soil conservation. The lower flood prone regions of the State has suitable condition for the cultivation of the plant. The plant can sustain any kind of soil, from sandy to dark clay and what ever topography, be it the sloping  upper south to the lower basin.

 Moreover the plant can sustain a ph of 3.5 upto 12.5 and can asbsorb heavy metal. This means it can sustain the salinity of the lower coast soils.

From this research vertiver suits best to be a natural flood control measure.


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Comments

Feb 14, 2012 2:23am
lilianmerab
i like your article, quite detailed!
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