New research suggests that cultivating flowers on floating platforms can significantly aid in cleaning polluted waterways. Over a 12-week period, these floating flower platforms extracted 52% more phosphorus and 36% more nitrogen compared to what the natural nitrogen cycle removes from untreated water. Additionally, the cut flowers produced can generate income through the multibillion-dollar floral market.

The research team, focusing on sustainable agriculture and water pollution in South Florida, drew inspiration from traditional floating farming practices such as the Aztecs’ chinampas in Mexico and the Miccosukees’ tree island settlements in Florida. By implementing the concept of growing cut flowers on floating rafts, the researchers aimed not only to mitigate excess nutrient pollution but also to create economic opportunities, potentially providing jobs in Miami, a central hub of the U.S. cut-flower trade.

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flowers growing in water