What is it?
In industrialised countries like the Netherlands, the soil, water and air are often polluted. One of the main forms of air pollution is particulate material (PM10), which comes from sources such as traffic, industry and intensive livestock farming. Particulates can cause respiratory conditions, including some serious diseases.
Water and soil can be polluted by fertilisers, agricultural pesticides and waste (e.g. heavy metals) from sewers and factories.
Ecosystems and some specific plant and animal species can be of assistance in catching, diluting or retaining pollutants. Also, some microorganisms can help to break down pollutants.
Vegetation, particularly conifers and other trees, can 'catch' particulate material carried in the air. Woods and lines of trees therefore help to improve air quality. Microorganisms break down substances in waste water, while reeds, rushes and other helophytes absorb waste products, thus improving water quality. Various bacteria and fungi provide the top layer of the soil with a self-cleaning capability.
The cleaning capacity of ecosystems helps to provide a clean environment for people to live in and is therefore important for public health.
In real life
Planting strips of woodland and lines of trees close to sources of particulate material (cities, roads and intensive livestock farms) appears to contribute to air quality. Scientists are still unsure just how much effect tree planting has, however.
Strips of marshy land and banks lined with helophytes can act as buffers between farmland and surface water bodies, preventing fertilisers and pesticides running straight into the water. That results in better-quality water courses in rural areas.
Field margins and grass verges can also catch fertiliser and pesticides and prevent them running into ditches. Permanent and non-permanent meadowland contributes to soil purification as well, provided that the fertiliser and pesticide use is not excessive. Surplus fertiliser absorbed by the growing grass is removed by grazing or mowing.
- Self-cleaning capacity of the top layer of the soil
- Sites of possible soil pollution
- Soil analyses progression
- Water purification: underground
- Water purification: rivers, lakes (soon available)
- Water purification by soil organisms in Waddenzee
- Removal of particulates (PM10) from the air (cleaning capacity of vegetation)
- Concentration of particulates (PM10) in the air
- Concentration of particulates (PM2,5) in the air
- Concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air
- Manure production: nitrogen (soon available)
- Manure production: phosphorus (soon available)
- Manure production: potassium (soon available)
- Manure surplus: nitrogen (soon available)
- Manure surplus: phosphorus (soon available)
- Manure surplus: potassium (soon available)
Informatie over lucht regulatie is te vinden in de technische documentatie van het NK-model.