Islands of Plastic and Plants

Water may be the source of life, but its life-giving quality depends on how we treat it.  Farm runoff, pesticides and fertilizers, even treated wastewater make their way back into our waters and our lives.

But at the Port of Baltimore in Maryland, the National Aquarium has a pilot program that could help improve the water below its piers.  An island made of garbage.

“This is a floating island here in the Baltimore harbor,” says Laura Bankey, the aquarium’s conservation manager. “These technologies have been used in other systems.  And there is an estimate that one acre (.4 hectares) of these wetlands would equal 200 acres (81 hectares) of natural wetlands, which in themselves have tremendous habitat value and water quality value.”

Bankey says the little floating trash island was put together in just a few hours.  Native plants are planted in a plastic mesh, then anchored into place.

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