Nowadays, environmentalists in Ontario have been encouraging urban agriculture as a source of food production. This practice can reduce food scarcity, as well as improved utilization of undeveloped lands within the outskirts of towns and cities. Irrigation is the better option for urban agriculture, and mostly relying on rivers and wastewater released from commercial and residential areas.
However, rivers flowing near cities have been polluted heavily by wastewater channelled to these sources. The water contains different kinds of oxides, nitrates, and heavy metals including the highly toxic lead metal. According to various studies, when contaminated water is used for irrigation, the metals such as lead can be absorbed by plants and incorporated into the food chain.
Grapes are some of the fast moving agricultural products in urban areas, and they grow faster compared to other fruits. If these fruits are watered with contaminated water, the heavy metals can be absorbed and cause serious health problems to consumers. using a water softener for home use can be beneficial to get rid of the contamination.
How to Grow Toxic Free Grapes
Even though fruits absorb fewer amounts of toxins compared to leafy vegetables, constant accumulation of lead can result to adverse health effects. Today, municipal wastewater is recycled and used for commercial purposes while water treatment plants also provide clean water for both domestic and industrial use. Therefore, the technology behind the production of safe water for home consumption can be applied in irrigation water system too. Reverse osmosis is commonly used, and it helps to filter out contaminants, including heavy metals and nitrates.
If this RO technology can be integrated into an irrigation system, grape growers can greatly benefit from the same. Several countries have been restricting importation of some vegetables and fruits that contain higher levels of toxic substances. This has resulted of the collapse of several businesses that trade fruits such as grapes due to reduced global market. To restore the businesses and production of grapes and other fruits, reverse osmosis can be an ideal technology to purify water for irrigation purposes.
Reverse Osmosis (RO) Technology
RO is a process of purifying water by use of a semi-permeable membrane. Contaminated water is forced through the membrane so that the larger molecules can be filtered out. Lead, arsenic, and nitrates are usually made of larger molecules than water, and they are filtered out during the purification process. Some minerals that are made up of smaller molecules are retained in the water, hence providing natural nutrients required by the plants.
Benefits of Using Reverse Osmosis to Grape Farmers
- Increased yields
Reverse osmosis water is pure and free from heavy metals and other unwanted pollutants. This gives farmers unquestionable permission to grow grapes in large scale since the fruits already meet the international food standards.
Purifying water through reverse osmosis is eco-friendly because little amount of energy is required. The space required to establish the system is minimal as well, allowing conservation and cost saving.
- Reduced health risks
Growing crops in the contaminated environment is a high risk to the health of consumers. Since reverse osmosis removes all the contaminants from water, irrigated grapes will be safe to eat.
- Environmental protection
Reverse osmosis is one of the ways of protecting the environment because pollutants are removed from the contaminated water. When the purified water is used in irrigation, soil and water pollution is incredibly reduced.
- Green production
Reverse osmosis utilizes very little energy, without emissions during the process. Therefore, farmers are rest assured of conserving the environment, as well as producing safe fruits.
According to Ro-System.org researchers, there is a need to assess levels of heavy metals in fruits. Therefore, food control authorities should encourage the use of RO water for irrigation in order to decrease the level of contaminants entering the food chain.