Photo © Guy Bohyn
Swimming is a refreshing way to beat the summer heat and an excellent form
of exercise for the whole family. Gentle water aerobics help build muscle
tone, relieve stress, strengthen the heart and lungs, and reduce the pain
and inflammation of arthritis. But chlorine, the chemical used to treat and
prevent bacteria formation in most pools, can have negative effects on the
environment as well as our health.
The most environmentally sensitive and
energy-efficient solution is the natural swimming pool, also referred to as
a swimming pond, green pool, or organic pool. The principles of a natural
pool are, in fact, the very same time-tested ones that Mother Nature uses to
purify ponds, streams, and lakes. The water from the pool is circulated
through an ecosystem of aquatic plants located in an adjacent basin referred
to as the regeneration or plant zone. The plants are embedded in gravel and
grow hydroponically, enriching the pool with oxygen. As water from the
swimming area is pumped through the plant zone, the roots act as a
biological filter, creating aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and other
micro-organisms that help clean the water.
Although natural pools have been enjoyed for decades in Europe, having
pioneered in Austria and Germany, they are just now making their way to other
countries as a result of a growing number of builders and home owners who
want to focus on creating a healthy, natural environment without the use of
harmful chemicals or high-tech, energy-consuming equipment. This article
details the advantages and construction of a natural swimming pool.
Click here to read the article as it appeared
as the cover story in the July/August 2012 issue of Natural Life Magazine. You'll find more
information about natural swimming pools, helpful resources, and some
wonderfully inspiring photographs.
Ellen Rowland is an American living in Senegal, W. Africa in an
off-the-grid earth house she helped build with her husband and two young
children. She is a writer of sustainable issues, fiction, humor, and poetry
and is currently working on a book about her experiences in sustainable
family living. A lover of all things edible and a passionate cook, she is
also working with several women in her village to produce a cookbook of
local flavors and culinary customs. You can read more about her family's
adventures on her blog.