Phytoremediation is the use of plants to decrease levels of contaminants.
Phytoremediation can positively impact contaminated soils, sludges, sediments, surface water, and groundwater. It is an ideal cleanup technology for Lake Atitlán: natural, low-cost, and driven by solar energy. It can help keep the lake alive by mitigating the effects of constantly increasing pollution.
LAEIG is implementing three fast, simple, inexpensive phytoremediation solutions to filter pathogens and remove nutrients from the lake. These will help to “buy time” for the longer-term solutions that will prevent the inflow of pathogens and excess nutrients and pathogens.
In late 2016 and in 2017, LAEIG spearheaded planting of over one mile of Lake Atitlán shoreline with this native lake-purifying reed, and we’re on target to plant more than that in 2018, finishing up all plantable areas in 2019.
LAEIG plans to construct a demonstration floating garden to show how these plant-covered rafts can create floating wetlands to purify the lake. Longer term, LAEIG plans to create many more floating gardens in the lake.
A giant floating ring filled with water hyacinths is LAEIG’s lake-purifying project in the harbor at Santiago Atitlán. LAEIG proposes building multiple rings strategically placed in the lake.