The air we breathe and the earth we dwell on are constantly polluted for several reasons. However, despite these negative environmental conditions, the atmosphere and the land we need to survive are always clean because the atmosphere and earth have natural cleaners. Plants are one of these cleaners.
The air we breathe has very sensitive balances composed of a gas mixture of 77% nitrogen, 21% oxygen,1% argon, and a small percentage of carbon dioxide (.039%). However, the Earth’s atmosphere, which is established with very sensitive balances, is polluted by chemicals called hydrocarbons. These are exhaust gases that emerge from cars with the burning fossil fuels, the smoke coming out of the chimneys of houses, various dusts flying around with wind and the chemical gases coming from factories. However, these polluters that form in the air are cleaned with special methods Almighty Allah creates. One of these special cleaners are plants. While plants work like a chemical factory in order to supply their own food or pull water out of the ground like a water pump, they also clean the air we breathe with the systems created by Allah. This cleaning process, the details of which are described below, show us once again the flawless evidences of creation of Allah, Who is the Lord of all worlds and Who has superior intelligence. Our Lord reveals His Sovereignty and matchless Creation in living beings as such: “That is Allah, your Lord. There is no god but Him, the Creator of everything. So worship Him. He is responsible for everything.” (Surat Al-An‘am, 102)
Plants Clean the Atmosphere Working Just Like a Chemical Factory:
One of the most essential needs of life is nutrition. Plants have to provide the energy required for all their biochemical processes, which is the basis of life. The source of this energy is the nutrients stored in the cells being burned and broken up after combining with oxygen. During this break up, the chemical energy stored in food molecules are released and emerge. The plants combine the water they absorb from the land and combine it with the carbon dioxide they take from the air and turn it into carbon hydrates like sugar and starch as well as oxygen. These high-energy substances , which are formed in this process called photosynthesis, are stored in their tissues and the oxygen is taken out. Oxygen, which is an absolute must in order for us “to breathe”, is given out via photosynthesis by plants during the day and the air we breathe is thus cleaned. It was found that during the photosynthesis process, 129 billion tons of the 147 billion tons of carbon dioxide put out into the atmosphere are cleaned in a year. The remaining 18 billion tons is cleaned by the organisms in the oceans. Despite all the pollution emitted into the atmosphere throughout the day, the air we breathe continues to be clean by means ofthis perfect system created by Almighty Allah. The connection between the cleanliness of the air, which is experienced by everyone every morning, and “breathing” and “morning time” is revealed as a miracle of the Qur’an in the verse: “And by the dawn when it exhales,” (Surat at-Takwir, 18)
Plants Clean the Air by Controlling the Water Cycle:
One of the methods used by plants to clean the atmosphere occurs in an indirect way. However, this is very important in terms of its contribution to the water cycle that forms the snowflakes and raindrops that clean the atmosphere. The plants extract the rain and snow waters which fall on the ground and get absorbed by the soil, to use for their own needs via their roots. A considerable amount of water in the tree leaves evaporates via perspiration and is sent back into the atmosphere again. In other words, plants work as matchless water pumps that pass the water through their bodies towards the atmosphere. So the water continuously cycles on the ground without being destroyed in the depths of the land.
In this way, the atmosphere’s current water amount does not change. After the gases sulfur oxide and azote dioxide go through various chemical transformations, they are absorbed by water drops in the clouds. Then these drops fall onto the ground in the form of rain and snow and mix with the soil again. However, during this process, the air is also cleaned. This is the reason that the air invariably smells clean and fresh right after rain; raindrops holding all dust in the air and letting them down to the ground… Almighty Allah points out the reviving power of rain in many verses of the Qur’an. There is no doubt that rain waters have a vitally important and reviving quality in providing the water the earth needs. However, rain waters form a reviving effect in another way by refreshing the air we breathe by means ofthe role they play in cleaning the air. In the verses this reviving effect is pointed. (Allah knows the truth.) “Even though before He sent it down on them they were in despair. So look at the effect of the mercy of Allah, how He brings the dead earth back to life. Truly He is the One Who brings the dead to life. He has power over all things.” (Surat ar-Rum, 49-50) In line with the information provided here, it might be thought that snow and rain waters are effective in cleaning the air. However, the mission plants take on in sending the water back to the atmosphere is very important because if plants did not have a mechanism that extracted water like a pump, the waters that fall to the ground as rain would remain on the land and there would be vital disruptions in the flawless water cycle currently on earth. However, Almighty Allah created very perfect systems, which work as interconnected to one another on earth. He protects all the living beings He created through these systems and reminds that He is the Sole Owner of a very superior strength. This truth is revealed in the Qur’an as follows: “Have they not looked at the sky above them: how We structured it and made it beautiful and how there are no fissures in it? And the earth: how We stretched it out and cast firmly embedded mountains onto it and caused luxuriant plants of every kind to grow in it, an instruction and a reminder for every penitent human being.” (Surat al-Qaf, 6-8)
How Do Plants Clean the Earth?
The types of minerals plants need and their position in the soil are different. Since minerals are not generally found as isolated substances in the soil, Almighty Allah has created plants with a system to select and take the necessary elements from the soil. The plant absorbs the minerals it needs as ions. Plants only take the ones they need from among the many inorganic ions found in soil composition. The organs that can extract these minerals are the roots. Using their specially created systems, the roots absorb the ions which the plant requires through the root cells and in spite of their own relatively high density, nonetheless pass this through to the plant itself. In this way, they clean the soil as they take the minerals they need. However, during this process, they only take the amounts they need. On the other hand, sometimes there may accumulate more pollutants in the soil. These pollutants are removed and cleaned out from the soil by the special systems created in some plants by Almighty Allah.
Plants’ Special Systems to Clean the Earth?
• Those That Clean via Carrying the Pollution Absorbed from the Soil: These plants are created in such a way as to prevent the accumulation of heavy metals in stem cells. However, they carry poisonous substances to their branches and leaves using their roots. These substances are completely removed from the soil by the abscission or breaking of leaves and branches, after being used by the plant.
• Those That Clean with the Ability to Accumulate Pollutants Absorbed from the Soil: The distinguishing characteristic of these plants is that they let metals enter their roots. This happens because in the stem cells of these plants, there are systems that will dispel the poisonous effect of the metal level. These systems allow for very high levels of metal accumulation.
• Those That Clean Pollutants Absorbed from the Soil Using the Chemical Systems They Possess: Event though micro- elements like zinc, manganese, nickel and copper are required for plants to grow, high levels of these ions in the cell might be harmful. However, in order to avoid this harmful effect, some plants have mechanisms like organizing ion flow (warning the carrier activity to provide low ion concentration and prevent high concentration) and sending inner cell ions to the outer composition.
Some Plant Species That Clean Hazardous Substance Accumulated in Soil:
Despite their delicate appearances, often decorated with flowers, some plant species have been assigned the task of cleaning lands polluted with heavy metals (like lead, mercury and copper) through the special systems created by Almighty Allah. Some of these plants are:
-A plant species called amaranthus retroflexus that dwells in oxalic acid and nitrate rich soils cleans soil polluted by radioactive substances in less than 15 years as compared to other plants when planted two or three times a year. This means 40 times more efficiency with respect to other plants.
-Thlaspi caerulescens ve Viola calaminaria, a member of the broccoli and cabbage plant group, grows in land with high levels of zinc and cadmium. While they pull these minerals into their bodies via their roots, they clean the soil of heavy metals containing levels that can be deadly to most plants. For example, while for most plants, an accumulation of zinc over 100 ppm is poisonous, thlaspi caerulescens (Alpine pennycress) can take in 26.000 ppm (parts per million)of zinc in without any damage. In the same way, while a plant can be poisoned with 20-50 ppm of cadmium, thlaspi caerulescens has the capacity to store 1500 ppm of cadmium in its body.
-The fern called Pteris vittata, a work of Almighty Allah’s superior art of creation, is also created in a way suitable to store arsenic, which is a very poisonous element. When it was discovered that ferns have 200 times more arsenic than what is present in soil, it was understood that the plant feeds on arsenic. It is believed that this discovery will open new horizons to clean the agriculture fields in mining and industrial areas.
-Arabidopsis thaliana, which is from the mustard family, is bestowed with the quality to render aluminum harmless by Almighty Allah’s leave.
-The napier grass (pennisetum purpureum), which is related to sugarcane, is successful in cleaning the soil in two ways. The first is that it pumps oxygen into the soil and breaks down the hydrocarbons in the soil when there is hydrocarbon pollution. The second is that it pulls out metals such as nickel, cadmium, lead and zinc in the soil like a magnet and carries them to the upper parts of its body. As we have seen in the examples mentioned here, our Lord created all plant species with different qualities and as superior to one another. This truth is revealed in one verse of the Qur’an: “In the earth there are diverse regions side by side and gardens of grapes and cultivated fields, and palm-trees sharing one root and others with individual roots, all watered with the same water. And We make some things better to eat than others. There are Signs in that for people who use their intellect.” (Surat Ar-Ra‘d, 4)
* Brady, N.C., 1990, The Nature and Properties of Soils, 10th Edition.
* http://www.planetark.org/avantgo/dailynewsstory.cfm? newsid=9675
* http://www.bpmp.cnrs.fr/Groupes/m%E9taux% 202.jpg
* http://greenpack.rec.org/.../ images/03-02-03.jpg
PLANTS’ ABILITY TO CLEAN THE SOIL BRINGS ECONOMIC BENEFITS
Some plant species build up heavy metals such as cadmium and nickel, which they absorb from the soil, in their leaves and buds. This quality Almighty Allah gave to plants is used in the field of metallurgy. The plant parts, where the build up occurs, are collected and stored to be re-used. In this way, it is ensured that the plant cleans the soil; additionally the ashes that form after the plants are burned are sold as mineral ore. However, 30-40% of zinc is produced from the ashes of the thlaspi caerulescens plant, which is grown in zinc rich fields in the American state of Pennsylvania.
Plants Clean the Hazardous Minerals That Accumulate in the Soil Like a Vacuum Cleaner
Plants take the nutrients they need in the form of minerals. A plant needs essential elements such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, sulphide in order to live and be healthy. Plants can obtain most of these substances—other than azote—directly from the soil. Besides these elements, plants need other minerals for healthy growth. But they need less of minerals such as iron, chlorine, copper, manganese, zinc, molibden and boron. These substances, required by the plant, are fixed at a specific amount with sensitive balances created by Almighty Allah in the soil. However, soil gets polluted just like the atmosphere, with industrial waste, urban waste, agricultural waste, erosion, improper cultivation of agricultural fields, excessive fertilization, or even shanty-town settlements. While plants take these minerals which they require for their vital functions using their amazing systems, which Almighty Allah created, at the same time they clean the soil.
The Cleaning Quality Plants Have is a Manifestation of Allah’s Name “Al-Quddus” (The One excluded from mistake, unawareness and every weakness, very clean)
Almighty Allah is the Sole Creator of all things found in the ground, the sky, the vastness of space. underground and in the depths of the seas. The order, laws and the consistent course in everything that can be seen when a person looks around, and that cannot be seen with the naked eye, belongs completely to Almighty Allah.
As it is revealed with the verse “Allah keeps a firm hold on the heavens and earth, preventing them from vanishing away. And if they vanished no one could then keep hold of them. Certainly He is Most Forbearing, Ever-Forgiving.” (Surah Fatir, 41) He is the Regulator and Protector of all systems. In this order, which is defined by our Lord, some organisms are assigned with the task of cleaning. While plants, which are equipped with systems that are prepared with every detail in mind, that have very sensitive balances working perfectly and that are planned in detail, continue with their vital functions, they also take on the task of cleaning our planet by means of the systems specially created by Almighty Allah. These extraordinary processes, the workings of which have not yet been fully discovered , take place flawlessly with the Creation of our Lord Who has a very superior intelligence and knowledge: “Your Lord is Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth in six days and then settled Himself firmly on the Throne...” (Surat al-A‘raf, 54)