GlobalDoes planting trees next to roads help reduce air pollution?

Does planting trees next to roads help reduce air pollution?

In addition to improving the landscape, trees and shrubs planted near roads significantly reduce air pollution caused by motor vehicles, a new study reveals.

Over two three-month periods, researchers sampled air quality at five sites along interstates and highways in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Compared to similar sites without vegetation, the researchers found a 37% reduction in soot and a 7% reduction in ultrafine particles at sites with natural or ornamental vegetation. The findings appear in the journal PLOS One.

“Trees and shrubs near roads do not solve the problem of air pollution caused by motor vehicles, but they can help reduce the severity of the problem,” lead author Roby Greenwald, associate professor at the School of Technology, said in a statement. of Public Health from GSU (Georgia State University).

A growing body of evidence has linked motor vehicle pollution to diseases such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer and heart attacks. Greenwald and his colleagues noted that solutions to the problem of high pollution levels near highways are urgently needed because 45 million people in the United States live, work or attend school within 300 feet of a major highway.

Roadside vegetation reduces air pollution through several mechanisms, including creating a large surface area for small particles to adhere to. The new study builds on previous research into the role vegetation can play in reducing air pollution by sampling at multiple sites over an extended period and incorporating a model that allowed researchers to take into account factors such as the direction of the wind, traffic volume and distance to the road.

You can also read: Private vehicles, the most polluting: Emissions Inventory of the Valley of Mexico


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