Part of the solution, not the pollution
The Japanese company Mebiol has developed a hydrogel film that enables farmers to grow food in deserts and over polluted soils.
Soil is essential to providing food for 95% of the world. Over the past decades, soil pollution and human-induced degradation have become a significant problem, reducing the quantity and quality of crops and produce. Soil is a finite resource, meaning that its loss and degradation is not recoverable within a human lifespan. Mebiol, a Japanese company, has developed a way to produce high-quality vegetables in desert or salt-damaged soils, contaminated areas and indoors. Mebiol’s Imec is a film made of hydrogel for growing vegetables with low water usage. The film is completely isolated from the ground by a waterproof sheet, which prevents any kind of contamination from the soil. At the same time, since the supplied water and fertilizer do not leak, the amount of water and fertilizer used is much lower than the quantity needed in the conventional farming methods. Farmers in the deserts of the United Arab Emirates and in some highly polluted provinces in China are currently using the Imec technology to grow food. It is reported to reduce water consumption to less than a quarter of what is needed for hydroponic farming and using one tenth of conventional farming soil. According to the company, the film eliminates soil contamination that can negatively impact crop productivity and quality, rendering pesticides unnecessary.