11 May An Army of Plants @ Café Ceuvel
Once a shipyard turned into a polluted piece of wasteland in Amsterdam-Noord, “De Ceuvel” was deemed unfit for any use in the past 80 years. But now you can enjoy in a wonderful café, restaurant, bed & breakfast and several ateliers! And even better: this “village” is all self-sustainable and it helps to clear pollutants from the ground! I’ll explain how it works.
Plants clearing pollutants?
On the grounds around “De Ceuvel”, there’s a variety of trees, grasses and shrubs that have one characteristic in common: the ability to clean polluted soil in only 10 years’ time. But there are various ways in which this happens.
- Pollutants are taken up and accumulated in the plants. So after removing these plants, the pollutants are gone from the plot. Furthermore, removed plants can be used to make bioenergy to power the boats!
- Plants produce chemicals that can help break down the pollutant after it has been taken up by the plant.
- Roots can bind polluted particles making them unavailable to other organisms, stopping the spread of pollution.
- Around the roots there is a high amount of microorganisms that break down polluted particles.
The designers faced another problem due to the pollutants, the inability to be able to build. But the team came up with an ingenious plan: 13 houseboats have been brought up onto shore. These houseboats are connected by a wooden walkway and house a variety of small enterprises like a café, restaurant, B&B and ateliers, where you can drink, dine or follow workshops
A sustainable community
By being as sustainable as possible, ”De Ceuvel” attempts to be self-sufficient in water and energy supply, by catching rainwater and using solar panels. They also make use of lso sustainable and self-grown food, although plants cannot be grown on the ground here (guess why!). That’s why many of the products used in the café and restaurant are grown on roofs and other spaces on the plot! Ingenious, isn’t it?
Do you think this could be a solution for other polluted wastelands in urban areas?
In this case I think it has worked out very well! As besides helping the environment, there is now a tasteful restaurant, a lively café and a beautiful place to spend the summer days at the water’s edge!
Will you join me here? Or do you know any other places that use science to create a sustainable environment? Let me know in the comments!”