Recently, Australian scientists launched the world’s first wetland research project in cooperation with the famed tea brand Lipton. Lipton rooibos-induced green tea and red tea varieties are used in the project to monitor carbon breakdown and sequestration. The team will explore different wetlands around the globe as part of the project and discover their potential in capturing and storing carbon dioxide.
For long, Lipton tea bags have been the first choice by international researchers who study terrestrial carbon sequestration. At present, the company is supplying 50,000 teabags to kick-start the project. Nearly 40 to 80 tea bags are buried in each wetland site. Specifically, green and red tea bags are used because of their mixed components.
Stacey Trevathan-Tackett, the project co-ordinator explains, “The teabags are numbered and labelled, and a GPS point is taken down.” To define the process, researchers will first observe the bags for three years—and then, remove the bags from underground to assess how they (Read: green and red bags) degrade. They are measured at intervals of three months, six months, and yearly.
Project leader, Peter Macreadie from Deakin University’s Blue Carbon Lab said, “Wetlands are the armpits of our environment.” They are centres of agriculture production, with a high capacity to capture and store carbon. “But some wetlands are much better at carbon storage than others, while some are carbon emitters, so they’re not all fantastic.”
This is why it is important for researchers to first identify the wetlands—best at carbon capture and sequestration. Once that is accomplished, the real work on protecting and restoring such wetlands must begin.
Researchers are also encouraging others to join the discovery by contributing a few tea bags. Readers can contact The Blue Carbon Lab to become a part of the project. A tool kit containing tea bags and an instruction guide will be sent to practice the process in the nearest wetland.