Nearly six months after the devastating tsunami hit Japan, communities are turning to mother nature to help restore theirs homes and hopes. Millions of sunflowers have been planted in radioactive areas to soak up toxins from the ground and brighten the hillside of Fukashima.
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The nuclear fallout from the tsunami forced nearly 80,000 people to evacuate their homes, not knowing if or when they may return. The 30 miles surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has been left contaminated and relatively barren. Even more disturbing, reports of radioactive rice, beef, vegetables, milk, seafood, and even tea have been found more than 60 miles away from the site, outside the mandatory evacuation zone.
Koyu Abe, chief monk at the Buddhist Joenji temple has been distributing sunflowers and their seeds to be planted all over Fukushima. The plants are known to soak up toxins from the soil, and patches of sunflowers are now growing between buildings, in backyards, alongside the nuclear plant, and anywhere else they will possibly fit. At least 8 million sunflowers and 200,000 other plants have been distributed by the Joenji Buddhist temple. “We plant sunflowers, field mustard, amaranthus and cockscomb, which are all believed to absorb radiation,” Abe says.
This is not the first time sunflowers have come to the rescue in radioactive situations. Many were planted around the Chernobyl site to extract cesium from nearby ponds. Residents of Fukushima today are also experimenting with planting sunflowers next to vegetables in their personal gardens, hoping they will suck up all the toxins and they can begin to grow again.
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