green infrastructure

Can plants help to make London's air safe to breathe?

Can plants help to make London's air safe to breathe?

Air pollution is fast becoming a major environmental health issue, and with initiatives to combat it - like the new ULEZ in London -  the wider public is beginning to wake up to the danger it poses. Globally, increasing urbanisation and industrialisation has lead to around 90% of people now living in areas that have air classified as hazardous by the World Health Organisation. This means that billions of people are suffering a reduction to their quality of life as a result of the multitude of ailments that air pollution manifests into - from less severe colds and headaches, to potentially fatal respiratory diseases, developmental disorders, and cancers.

Recently, green infrastructure - the integration of plants into urban areas - has gained traction as a potential mitigation method for air pollution.  As well as improving the balance of Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen in air, plants are capable of removing, and dispersing airborne pollutants, and so are a potentially useful tool for improving air quality.