Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 34, pp 34570–34582 | Cite as

Using phytoremediation by decaying leaves and roots of reed (Phragmites austrates) plant uptake to treat polluted shallow groundwater in Kuwait

  • Hana’a BurezqEmail author
  • Amjad Aliewi
Research Article


Phytoremediation is the use of plants and their associated microorganisms, to remove or degrade biochemically the pollutants from the soil and groundwater environment. It is an emerging technology for water/soil/agricultural remediation, which offers a low-cost flexible technique suitable for use against a number of different types of contaminants in a variety of media. This research illustrates that this technology can be used to reduce the concentration of pollutants in Kuwait shallow groundwater to improve the efficiency of irrigation for greenery purposes. The investigation of this research was carried out through using reed plants in two experiments: First in decaying reed leaves and the second in reed roots. The change in the concentration of the inflow of the polluted groundwater and the outflow of the treated irrigation water was measured in the laboratory for chemical analysis. The two experiments indicated the ability of the reed plants to reduce the concentration of salt ions (Cl, Na, K, and SO4) by about 66–78%. Roots reduced the total dissolved solid values by 66%, the plants were capable of reducing the concentration of nitrogen compounds significantly, and fluoride was reduced by ≈ 86% while the roots removed the lithium significantly. This research illustrates that the roots of the reed plants are capable to reduce the heavy metals of Cd, Co, Zn, and Fe significantly. The reduction of Al, Cu, and Cr by the roots of the reed plants was 53%, 39%, and 89% respectively. These results provide a preliminary indication that reed plants have the capability to remove pollutants at various levels and that salinity can be reduced considerably to improve irrigation efficiency in Kuwait.


Phytoremediation Reed Decaying leaves Efficient irrigation Phragmites austrates 



The authors would like to thank Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) for supporting technically and financially this research. KISR’s efforts are very much appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Desert Agriculture and Ecosystems Program (DAEP), Environment and Life Sciences Research Center (ELSRC)Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR)ShuwaikhKuwait
  2. 2.Water Resources Development and Management Program (WRDMP), Water Research Centre (WRC)Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR)ShuwaikhKuwait

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