Modern planting involves the blank coverage of chemicals and pesticide control to render the land protected and to intensify industrial production on a great scale. On the other hand, such an approach suppresses biodiversity and soil richness. Geo-Bed explores the relationship of human space with the agricultural landscape.
Within the Tonawanda Industrial zone, two primary polluters are to blame for the volatile conditions found on the site: NRG Huntley, a coal-fired electric plant and Tonawanda Coke Corporation (TCC) a coking facility. Both entities are clients of the prominent Powder River Basin in Wyoming, which supplies over 40% of the coal mined in the US to more than 100 coal-fired plants throughout the nation. Raw coal is mined and transported via CSX rail to Tonawanda, NY for TCC and Huntley to carry out coke and electricity production respectively.
The Tonawanda industrial zone hosts a variety of topographical and soil profiles, all of which vary in their receptiveness to pollutants.
Site 108 is one of the Superfund sites in the Tonawanda industrial area. This 26.59-acre vacant industrial landscape consists of visible remnants of steel superstructures, tanks, and the former railroad bed. Studies have reported that the soil found here had been polluted by heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, and magnesium.
Deposition via rain is additionally responsible for the presence of heavy metal particulates in the soil.
These metals are consistently found to exceed appropriate levels throughout the industrial zone. For instance, aluminum, calcium, iron, and magnesium are constitute well over 0.1% of the soil composition in samples.
We believe that as our technologies improve, small lightweight machinery and robotic farming devices will be able to operate on the site and vegetate the landscape without the influence of human actors. Humans will be able to operate this futuristic machinery from a far safe distance to plant seeds in high-risk areas. The loss of plant diversity, a characteristic of mechanized agriculture, could be recovered with the use of these small and exquisite robots. With the aid of the sensing and control system of drone technology, the machines are able to pay closer attention to individual plants. As each plant is important for the ecosystem, we are interested in exploring how such technology can augment a new relationship and increase the the resolution between the plant and the machine.
We are proposing to use a swarm of drones to decontaminate the site by planting various hyperaccumulator plants that extract heavy metals from the soil. The drones will be flying across the site weekly to maintain and check the condition of the plants. After surveying the site, drones will be able to carry the seeds of selected plants and drop them on the site based on the locations designated for different species. These plants could absorb different kinds of metals, so we are proposing to arrange the plant on the site according to what metal they would absorb and what kind of metal pollutes the specific area.