Iceland Mag

9 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Nature

The Reykjavík geothermal power utility to repair damages to delicate moss caused by vandals

By Staff

  • Graffiti? A form of "graffiti" has been popping up in moss fields along major roads as people tear out moss to write messages in the landscape. Photo/Gunnar Arngrímur Birgisson

The utility company Orka Náttúrunnar, which provides geothermally generated electricity and geothermal water for the Reykjavík district heating system, will lead efforts to repair moss fields in hillsides along one of the roads leading from Reykjavík to South Iceland. Vandals have carved out messages and words in the moss by tearing out the moss.

It takes the delicate vegetation decades to recover from the destruction. Methods developed by the utility allow for the moss to be regrown in only a few years. 

Thoughtless destruction
Earlier this month a photograph of a hillside where people had torn out moss to leave messages like "Send Nudes", went viral on Icelandic social media. At least ten other words and messages had been carved into the moss.

Many suspected the messages had been left by foreign travellers who fail to understand that they are causing permanent damage to the vegetation. Some feared that if the messages would only encourage more destruction and vandalism, and that it could become impossible to contain the problem.

Cutting edge methods to repair damages
Earlier today, however, the municipally owned power utility and the Icelandic Road and Coastal Authority began repairing the destruction. In recent years the utility and the IRCA have developed ground-breaking methods to preserve the delicate vegetation of lava fields where roads are being built or geothermal bore holes and steam-carrying pipes laid down.

Read more:  Photos: Geothermal utility achieves remarkable success reclaiming original vegetation around powerplant

Magnea Magnúsdóttir, who heads the project, told the local radio station Bylgjan that it would take the moss a few years to recover, instead of the decades it would take otherwise.

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