Sunflowers Save Lives During Nuclear Meltdowns

Grace Higgins | January 10th, 2020

A field of sunflowers is not only a beautiful thing to look at, but it can also save lives. Scientists and biologists are working together in nuclear disaster zones such as Chernobyl, Fukushima, and Hiroshima to ensure sunflowers are being planted in mass in these soils. The key is because these plants soak up toxic metals from the soil and the water.

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Tourism into nuclear meltdown zones and new TV series dramatizing the disasters, such as HBO TV series Chernobyl about the 1986 nuclear disaster has spurned a popular interest in how life goes on in these regions. People always seem to have a fascination with places that have been abandoned, and what many do not know, is that sunflowers play a key role when it comes to cleaning up the aftermath.

Sunflowers become an essential step in ensuring the areas of this nuclear disaster could one day be radiation free. This is because these types of flowers have shown the remarkable ability to be able to soak up toxins from the ground, even from local waters.

And not only are they bright and colorful, but sunflowers also increase the quality of air and help speed up the process of making drinking water clean again. This is one reason why sunflowers have become an icon of hope when it comes to seeing a world free of nuclear weapons, with many groups now using the sunflower as a symbol of peace. Scientists refer to them as hyperaccumulators, which basically means that the plants can soak up toxicity at an amazing speed.

Like all plants sunflowers find their nutrients to live from the ground, but they seem to also soak up the bad stuff with the good stuff, it seems they are not picky eaters. Research has shown pollution has dropped by 40% in regions that planted rows of sunflowers, governments naturally took action to plant as many as possible.

This is because planting sunflowers is much cheaper than having to dig up all of the radiation heavy soil. The tragedy, of course, can not be undone, and the planted sunflowers also serve as a reminder that we take the required steps to ensure nuclear disasters become an issue of the past.

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