Artificial Floating Islands: a Technology for Clean Water and Agricultural Production in Rural China

Zhaohua Li; Yanqiang Li; Wei Huang; Lianhai Sang
The Artificial Floating Islands (AFIs) are an innovative variant of wetlands with substrates-rooted plants and free-floating aquatic plant systems, which consist of aquatic or terrestrial plants growing in a hydroponic manner with buoyant frames floating on the surface of water bodies. On the AFIs, plants are enforced to attain nutrition directly from the water column as they are not rooted in any substrate, which improves the uptake rates of nutrient into biomass. The plant products produced by AFIs can be easily harvested and subsequently used as animal even human food or be processed into biogas, biofertilizer and biomaterial, impelling the practical application of the technology due to the potential economic returns. More importantly, AFIs has the unique advantage of occupying no land area. The paper descripted the type, structure, function, and developing history of AFIs. By analyzing the social-economic benefits, suggestions were given to China for applying AFIs technology to improve the water environment and to cultivate crops thereby creating a “win-win” model for both environmental protection and agricultural development in rural places.
Artificial Floating Islands (Afis); Eutrophication; Waste Water Reruse; Rural China
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