In many countries where traditional industries such as mining
and steel production have declined, they have left behind contaminated
Most often, this type of land is polluted with dangerous materials
such as heavy metals (lead, zinc, copper etc.), as well as chemicals,
gases, oil and many others unwanted components.
Many forms of contaminated soil can be ‘disarmed’ by
a range of processes including the use of micro-organisms or even
plants but decontamination is often a costly and lengthy process.
Certain bacteria can be used to safely break down organic pollutants,
such as oil, into carbon dioxide and water. These microbes can
be ' injected' into the soil, or mechanically applied using special
For other toxic materials such as metals, plants can be used.
The plants absorb them into their stems and leaves. The plants
can then be harvested and destroyed safely; the metals can even