Category : Editorial
Polonium kills fast. Tobacco kills slowly. The two combine in Tobacco making it a worse poison. It has been found that in Tobacco 210Po is present in significant levels.
It has been observed that the uranium daughter products are selectively absorbed by the tobacco plant where they decay into radioactive polonium. High phosphate fertilizers 'worsen' the situation as uranium tends to associate with phosphates, This is the second important observation. Containment of radioactive wastes is a very important problem and perhaps to contain nature's poison, another poison con be experimented.
Conversion of uranium to phosphates and nitrates and using them as fertilizers for tobacco plantations and many other tested weeds In protected areas and destroying these plants by burning them to the ashes/ might dilute their effect and make them amenable to disposal in safe areas-
One can also study the possibility of biological degradation of the secondary plant wastes.
This is an isolated observation. Should not this study be undertaken on an urgent scale to study cereals and vegetables? If it is found that cereals ore also contaminated, it is time to switch over totally to organic fertilizers at least in areas where uranium mines are situated and near the Kerala beaches where monazite sands are present.
Tobacco can be grown for the purpose of sanitation and destroyed. Sensitive detectors can be operated even by farmers if IARI takes the lead for this unusual study.
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