Plants reviving neighbourhood
Phytoremediation is a method that uses plants to clean up the soil and water. This approach was used in the Sarkandaugava neighbourhood to do small scale, community organized cleaning activities and most important to raise attention within the local community and city officials of the lost and polluted waters of Sarkandaugava. Within the project a small group of people every spring are cleaning the area next to the Sarkandaugava river and planting sunflowers to purify the soil. Sunflowers have a deep root system, they are annual plants and consume a lot of nutrients, thus also attracting the pollution. And it is a beautiful plant, creating the landscape more attractive. This activity is combined with some small-scale bottom-up public space improvements – benches, canopy and an information stand that tells the history of the neighbourhood and the local industrial waters.
This neighbourhood with a post-idustrial image has found itself in a moment of change with mental borders between different social groups. It has been included in Riga City Social Integration Policy supporting NGOs, activities of local communities that strengthen local identity.
It needed to activate local community and on the other hand to rise attention of Sarkandaugava pollution problem.
Authors wanted to show the potential of having one more green area in this industrial neighborhood and fight the pollution in and around the Sarkandaugava river and encourage reconstruction of the waterfront. By intorducing the phytoremediation method to kick-start the changes.
- By doing things together organizers have opened the proces to practical input in solving local problems.
The most positive and visible result is that area is cleaner than before. No-place has become a place which is being taken care of. The local community has been attracted to this area - residents see this area as a place they can use – take a walk, walk a dog etc. The City Zoning plan recognizes the place as a blue-green area now. The problem of pollution in Sarkandaugava river is widely recognized. Local administration is looking for and evaluating the potential steps needed to clean and revitalize the area.