"The best environmental facts of 2018
Project Cabeço Santo
The Cabeço Santo Project continued in 2018 to actively contribute to the ecological and scenic recovery of a forest spot in the municipality of Águeda, managing to increase the extension of the area under its care. This is a unique project in Portugal, with an intervention area of more than 120 hectares.
About three dozen volunteer actions were promoted. The initiatives were attended by more than 300 volunteers and more than a hundred visitors. During the year, a dozen actions were publicized in various national and international events, as well as several pedagogical and educational initiatives in educational institutions in the region. During the months of August and September, the technical team carried out several night surveillance actions to detect risk behaviors or criminals in critical areas. Thousands of native trees were planted and cut, stripped and peeled thousands of acacias.
This year also brought new partners and supports, namely the companies INDASA SA, Acail Gas Medicare, Zeocel and the association Pioneers, who supported the planting of thousands of native trees and ecological recovery works, joining the Municipal Council of Águeda, Altri, Space Talassa, Petus, Critec and Baixo Vouga Forestry Association. "
Zeolites occur naturally in rocks of volcanic origin, and are minerals of the hydrated aluminosilicates group composed of: aluminum, silica, hydrogen and oxygen arranged in a highly stable three-dimensional tetrahedral structure.
The structure of these elements consists of zeolite crystals having a network of micro pores connected to each other, with diameters ranging from 2.5 to 5.0 A0, depending on the type of zeolite mineral.
Natural zeolites are grouped into significant amounts that constitute deposits, and about 50 minerals of this family are known, within which we have the following:
Mordenite and Clinoptilolite are zeolitic minerals best known for their uses and applications. Clinoptilolite, is a natural Zeolite formed from volcanic ash in lakes or marine waters for millions of years. Clinoptilolite is the most studied and considered most useful and is known as adsorbent of certain toxic gases such as hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide.
Benefits produced by zeolites in soils
• It improves its physical properties (structure, moisture retention, aeration, porosity, density, capillary rise, etc.).
• It improves its chemical properties (pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and micronutrients), increasing its cation exchange capacity.
• Decreases soil sodium content, which can be toxic to plants.
• It facilitates greater stability of soil organic matter content and does not allow loss of organic matter by mineralization.
• It increases the retention of nutrients, which allows to reduce up to 50% the application of traditionally applied mineral fertilizers.
• Increases moisture retention by reducing irrigation rates by more than 15%.
• It considerably improves the leveling of the ground, due to the improvement of its structure.
• The application of zeolite in the soil significantly reduces the amount of water and the cost in fertilizers, through the retention of nutrients in the root zone.
• Zeolites form a permanent water reservoir, ensuring a prolonged moisture effect, even in periods of dryness.
• Controls soil acidity, increasing pH. This is due to its alkalinization ability.
• Increases resistance to soil compaction.
• The physical-chemical conditions of the sandy soils improve with the application of zeolite, as it increases its moisture retention capacity, and in clayey soils, it improves the physical conditions, avoiding their compaction and improving the penetration capacity of the water.
• It increases the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and other products applied to the soil, as it incorporates them into its porous mass and liberates them little by little.
• Improves nitrification in soil. By providing an ideal surface for adhesion of nitrifying bacteria, it helps increase nitrification. For the same reason, the population of soil bacteria that attack pathogenic fungi increases.
• The porous structure of zeolites helps to keep the soil aerated. A single application of zeolite offers benefits for a long time due to the stability and resistance of this substance
• Facilitates good relationships between nutrients.
• Facilitates phosphorus solubilization (P) and potassium assimilation (K).
Benefits produced by zeolites in the production of organic fertilizers, chemicals and organic minerals.
(a) in the production of organic fertilizers:
• Reduces leachates, which often in liquid form, contaminate freshwater sources.
• Controls 100% unpleasant odors in the composting process.
• Increases the agricultural and commercial quality of the compound.
• Reduces nutrient loss by up to 50% due to volatilization, which occurs during the production process.
• It accelerates the process of organic waste decomposition and its early conversion into fertilizers.
• Having less nutrient loss increases the organic quality of organic fertilizers.
b) In the production of chemical fertilizers and mineral organs:
• Zeolites act as slow release fertilizers. They have a negatively charged structure that contains nutrients such as potassium and nitrogen. They can be loaded with these ions before they are used as a culture medium to later release nutrients near the root system where they are needed for growth.
• Increases the efficiency of using chemical fertilizers and mineral organs by more than 50%.
• Not only can it act as a slow-release fertilizer, reducing or reducing leachate (movement of nutrients dissolved in the ground water), but also reducing the migration of nutrients from the root zone to deep water, eliminating the possibility of contamination.
• Many of the fertilizers used in the field of agriculture, for example, ammonium nitrate, have low efficiency in the use of their nutrients and, in very few cases, efficiency is more than 50% for most crops. Zeolite additions can help increase the efficiency of these fertilizers.