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Clean Air Day: Calling on plants

Clean Air Day
More topical this year is the fact that 21 June has also been designated as Clean Air Day to raise awareness of our need to address pollution.

Clean Air Day

This year, there has been a rise of concerns over pollution in London streets and schools and it is suspected that similar conditions might be found in other large cities. It is already known that many large cities across the world have these problems.

Over the years, London has tried to limit pollution with the congestion charge hoping to discourage drivers going into the centre. There have been calls to reduce the number of diesel vehicles on the roads. From April this year, diesel drivers have had to pay more road tax, the amount depending on the size of the engine. Plus ‘any cars that fail to meet the Euro 6 engine requirements under the new Real Driving Emissions (RDE) standards will also be subject to the tax hike’.

Industry emissions are also big culprits of air pollution.

What’s the long-term solution?
Of course limiting pollution is the ultimate best to address this but realistically, this is not likely to be a quick-fix.

In the meantime, we know that plants can work in the form of tees and green walls on the outsides of buildings. Research carried out at the Universities of Birmingham and Lancaster found that green walls reduced pollution by 30%.

The researchers, Prof Rob MacKenzie (Birmingham) and Dr Tom Pugh (Lancaster) found that ‘Trees, bushes and other greenery growing in the concrete-and-glass ‘urban canyons’ of cities would deliver cleaner air at the roadside where most of us are exposed to the highest pollution levels, and could be implemented street-by-street without the need for large-scale and expensive initiatives.’


‘The researchers have found that, because pollution cannot easily escape street canyons, ‘green walls’ of grass, climbing ivy and other plants have a better opportunity than previously thought to act as an air pollution filter. Instead of reducing pollution by 1 or 2%, reductions of more than ten times this magnitude could be achieved, according to this study.’

We know that from the NASA research plants eat up toxins so this makes sense inside our offices, schools and homes and outside too.

What will you do? Will you walk to school or work? Will you promote what plants can do to help? Let’s big-up plants on Clean Air Day.

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