You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘trees and particulate matter’ tag.
We know that vehicle-related pollution & particulate matter is a public health issue as these can cause respiratory & heart illnesses/diseases & increased incidences of death.
In 2010, research from 700 worldwide health-pollution studies found that traffic pollution within a 500-metre radius of a major thoroughfare was likely to –
- Exacerbate asthma in children
- Trigger new asthma cases across all ages
- Impair lung function in adults &
- Could cause cardiovascular illness & death. See – http://bit.ly/QpiYx6
We also know that street trees help improve air-quality by removing some of the vehicle-related pollution & particulate matter from the air.
Thanks to research published in June 2012 by researchers at the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University http://bit.ly/Pk4skG we now know that that this level of pollution removal is actually much higher than previously thought, making humble street tree & other street vegetation more important than ever for human health.
Previous studies thought street trees captured less than 5% of air pollution from vehicles. The small percentage may have given an out for Councils not to have street tree planting as a priority. However, this study from the Lancaster Environment Centre has shown that –
- “increasing deposition by the planting of vegetation in street canyons can reduce street-level concentrations in those canyons by as much as 40% for nitrogen dioxide & 60% for particulate matter.
- Deposition rates of nitrogen dioxide & particulate matter to vegetation are much higher than those to hard, built surfaces.
- Substantial street-level air quality improvements can be gained through action at the scale of a single street canyon or across city-sized areas of canyons.
- Vegetation will continue to offer benefits in the reduction of pollution even if the traffic source is removed from city centers.”
What wonderful research. It clearly shows that the budgetary spending by Councils needs to be much higher for planting street trees & increasing the urban forest as trees are very much a public health issue.
Adding street trees & other vegetation should be a priority along main roads, secondary main roads & along shopping strips. Verge gardens, pots filled with plants, green walls & hanging baskets are examples of vegetation that help to remove vehicle-related particulate matter.
As we know, street trees & other greenery also improves human happiness as well as increasing spending by around 11% along leafy shopping strips (by happy people). Concentrating only on diet & lifestyle issues is not the only consideration public health should be looking at. Green streets full of street trees & other vegetation where trees cannot be planted is an important & vital step to ensuring a population can remain healthy.
We know that the particulate matter in air pollution comes from vehicles & coal power stations causes respiratory disease, including asthma in both children & adults as well as heart attack related death. Now 2 new research studies done by entirely different research groups in Germany & the USA have shown that particulate matter also increases the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes.
… the new data provide important & more rigorous evidence that real-world pollution may be tampering with blood sugar control in a large & growing number of people.
The researchers used proximity to roads — where vehicles would be a major pollution source — as a proxy for exposure to fine particulates. Women who developed diabetes were more likely to have lived nearest to heavily trafficked roads.
Compared to the 25% of women living farthest from busy roads, the relative risk of developing diabetes was 15% higher for the 25% of women living closest to major roadways.
There is a growing body of literature suggesting that people with diabetes may be more susceptible to the harmful effects of air pollution.
All the more reason why we need to start planting more street trees, especially on & around main roads. This issue is fast becoming one that will have serious impacts on our health system. It makes sense to use nature to try to lessen the impact of our 21st Century lifestyle as money spent now may help mitigate the financial cost of disease in the future.
It’s well worth reading the full article – http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/63971/title/Air_pollution_appears_to_foster_diabetes
I wrote about this issue here – http://savingourtrees.wordpress.com/2010/06/29/living-close-to-a-main-road-is-bad-for-your-health/ &