Israel using saltwater, sewage to grow trees in desert

November 25th, 2011 - 7:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Jerusalem, Nov 25 (IANS) Scientists in Israel are growing trees in the barren land of the Arava desert by using recycled sewage and saltwater.

This forest planted over the summer is soaking up harmful excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releasing beneficial oxygen, Isarel’s reported.

The environmentalists involved in the project hope that it would not only help reduce humanity’s carbon footprint but will also show how all nations could establish a local plant species on a piece of land thought unusable, to improve air quality.

Once the trees grow up, they are also hoped to turn a renewable source of biofuel, reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

India, Central Asia and Africa in particular have large swathes of such land, including the Sahara desert.

The project is a research collaboration between Tel Aviv University’s Porter School of Environmental Science, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the University of Tuscia in Viterbo, Italy.

The study, outlined in an article to be published in the European Journal of Plant Science and Biotechnology, is being sponsored by the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea.

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