Friday, July 20, 2012

Green plants can improve air quality in cities

Many cities, from all over the globe, are experiencing excessive levels of air pollution, mostly because of traffic and/or increased industrial activity. Polluted air does not only lead to different environmental but also to many health issues, and this is the reason why we must all tend to improve air quality in our cities.

One of the simplest ways on how we can improve air quality in our cities is to plant more green plants. The recent study by UK scientists says that green plants such as grass and climbing ivy can significantly reduce nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and microscopic particulate matter (PM) levels in the air.

These two air pollutants can be can be quite harmful to human health and the scientists have also discovered that their concentration exceeds safe levels on the streets of many cities.

The UK scientists report that the „judicious placement of grass, climbing ivy and other plants in city streets can reduce the concentration of NO2 by as much as 40 percent and PM by 60 percent“. This is approximately 8 times more than previously believed.

The researchers also concluded that trees aren't always highly effective in reducing the levels of these pollutants, and getting the most of them can be only done if prior care is taken to avoid trapping pollutants beneath their crowns.

Green plants can fight air pollution in many different ways, not only do they trap and hold these harmful air pollutants (they trap and filter pollutants by leaves, stems and twigs), but also absorb CO2 and produce oxygen in the process.

Urban designers should consider these positive effects of planting more green plants in cities, and make sure to „green“ their cities as much as possible.

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