Can astro turf replace grass?
Astro turf or artificial turf or synthetic grass is made from synthetic materials and is manufactured to resemble or look like natural grass. The use of astro turf has been more common in athletic arenas where the games were played on grass. But of late astro turf is been used for residential as well as landscaping projects as well.
These are some of the advantages for the astro turf
- Astro turf is a better option where the climate isn't exactly suitable for growing natural turfs.
- It's particularly useful for sports arenas as it can withstand more use especially rough use in comparison to natural grass. Stadium owners can generate more income from the astro turfs in comparison to the natural turfs that require more maintenance. For this reason the astro turfs can accommodate higher number of sports events per year vis-à-vis the natural turfs.
- It's a practical solution for many of the holiday homes since maintenance isn't required. It's also practical for elderly homeowners who can't take care of gardens and yet want to have a lawn.
- Its also great for rooftop gardens as well as areas around the swimming pools.
- Fibre optic cables can also be implanted in the turfs. This allows advertisement or even lighting on the turf. This is especially useful for playing surfaces, advertisers and even runways for airplanes.
Some of the disadvantages of astro turf
- Polymers are used for the manufacture of the astro turfs. The production of the polymers requires huge consumption of the fossil fuels that increases the pollution in the air. Moreover fossil fuels are limited natural resources that we must conserve.
- When large tracts of natural grass are replaced with astro turfs, it increases the effect of the greenhouse gases. Since there is no natural grass that will trap the carbon gases and turn them into oxygen through the process of photosynthesis.
- Its been noticed that abrasions and scratches are more severe on the astro turfs as compared to the natural turfs.
- Many of the artificial turfs may also require silicon infills and granulated rubber infills for repairs from time to time. These infill may also have heavy metals that can also leech into the water table.
- Periodic disinfections of the surfaces are required since the artificial turf provided no resistance to the pathogens and doesn't break them down like the natural surfaces.
- Turf toe is a medical condition that is also experienced by many athletes that play on the artificial turfs.
- The artificial turfs also get much hotter than the natural turfs and the temperatures can go as high as 160 degree Fahrenheit or about 70 degree Celsius.
- One of the biggest disadvantages of the astro turf is its disposal. Moreover the astro turf needs to be completely disregarded after every 8-18 years. Disposing it is a problem and many landfills also refuse to take the astro turfs.
Why the astro turf is preferred
Artificial turf doesn't require any mowing or watering or constant upkeep. But yes it does require maintenance and sometimes repairs especially for the athletic grounds. Moreover it lasts for a far longer time than the real turfs. In many ways the artificial turf allows more events and may be well worth the expensive tag that is attached to it. Since the surface level is the same without any ups or downs the ball can travel faster and this is extremely important in games such as football.
But many environmentalists believe that the astro tuft may not be a great thing after all.
When you replace large tracts of football fields with astro turf, it doesn't cut global warming since the astro turf doesn't absorb the carbon dioxide. In that sense the astro turfs actually increase the incidence of global warming. On hot days, the temperature can soar really high that can make the scrapes and the bruises of the athletes even worse. Worse the heat can also unlock the nasty fumes from the polymers and the tyres that make the astro turfs. This can be inhaled by the athletes and can pose danger to their health.
But over the time the artificial turfs have also evolved and have become re resilient and now all NFL games are played on artificial turfs. The debate between the advantages and disadvantages of the astro turf and the natural turf will go on and it's still early to say how hazardous it's going to be. So the answer to the question whether astro turf can replace grass is "NO".
"Artificial turf is better option as no mowing, no watering is required also no need of maintenance. "