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Researchers Develop New Framework To Select Best Trees For Fighting Air Pollution

Air pollution is responsible for one in every nine deaths each year and this could be intensified by projected population growth

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In a study, published in the journal Climate and Atmospheric Science, researchers from the University of Surrey conducted a wide-ranging literature review of research on the effects of green infrastructure (trees and hedges) on air pollution. Pixabay

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed a new framework for selecting the best trees for fighting air pollution that originates from our roads.

In a study, published in the journal Climate and Atmospheric Science, researchers from the University of Surrey conducted a wide-ranging literature review of research on the effects of green infrastructure (trees and hedges) on air pollution.

“We are all waking up to the fact that air pollution and its impact on human health and the health of our planet is the defining issue of our time,” said study researcher Prashant Kumar, Professor at the University of Surrey in the UK. “Air pollution is responsible for one in every nine deaths each year and this could be intensified by projected population growth,” Kumar added.

The review found that there is ample evidence of green infrastructure’s ability to divert and dilute pollutant plumes or reduce outdoor concentrations of pollutants by direct capture, where some pollutants are deposited on plant surfaces.

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As part of their critical review, the researchers identified a gap in information to help people – including urban planners, landscape architects and garden designers – make informed decisions on which species of vegetation to use and, crucially, what factors to consider when designing a green barrier. To address this knowledge gap, they identified 12 influential traits for 61 tree species that make them potentially effective barriers against pollution.

Beneficial plant properties include small leaf size, high foliage density, long in-leaf periods (e.g. evergreen or semi-evergreen), and micro-characteristics such as leaf hairiness. Generally detrimental aspects of plants for air quality include wind pollination and biogenic volatile organic compound emissions.

Air Pollution, Global Warming, Mask, Doctor, Protection
Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed a new framework for selecting the best trees for fighting air pollution that originates from our roads. Pixabay

In the study, the team emphasised that the effectiveness of a plant is determined by its environmental context – whether, for example, it will be used in a deep (typical of a city commercial centre) or shallow (typical of a residential road) street canyon or in an open road environment.

To help concerned citizens with complex decisions, such as which tree is best for a road outside a school in a medium-sized street canyon, the research team has also developed a plant selection framework. “The use of green infrastructure as physical barriers between ourselves and pollutants originating from our roads is one promising way we can protect ourselves from the devastating impact of air pollution,” Kumar said.

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“We hope that our detailed guide to vegetation species selection and our contextual advice on how to plant and use green infrastructure is helpful to everyone looking to explore this option for combatting pollution,” he added. (IANS)

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36% Consumers Would Like Devices to Offer Guidance on Environment: Report

36% consumers want guidance on environment from devices

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consumers
36% consumers would prefer being guided on environment by devices. Pixabay

While nearly half of consumers worldwide see technological innovation as critical to tackling future environmental challenges, about 36 per cent would like their devices to offer guidance on leading a more environmentally conscious life, an Ericsson report said on Wednesday.

Interestingly, consumers who think technology will be crucial in solving future environmental challenges express almost twice the interest in various ICT solutions to help them live more environmentally consciously, compared to others, said the report “Consumers, sustainability and ICT”.

“ICT tools and services can play a significant part in assisting consumer’s daily efforts to reduce their personal environmental impact,” Zeynep Ahmet Vidal, Senior Researcher at Ericsson Consumer & IndustryLab and author of the report, said in a statement.

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Consumers who think technology will be crucial in solving future environmental challenges express almost twice the interest in various ICT solutions. Pixabay

The consumers do perceive ICT as helpful as an aid in their daily life, be it for environmental, health, cost or convenience-related reasons.

“But ICT also has the potential to enable future innovation in climate action, and here the service providers have a unique opportunity and position to provide novel solutions that can aid consumers in making more sustainable choices in daily life,” Vidal said.

The findings of Ericsson’s latest ConsumerLab report is based on a quantitative study of 12,000 Internet users from across the world.

The countries involved in the study include India, the US, Brazil, the UK, Germany, Spain, Russia, South Africa, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, China and Australia. The sample consists of 1,000 respondents from each country.

The report uncovers the current consumer mindset of leading environmentally sustainable lifestyles.

In the last two decades alone, concern about air and water pollution has risen from concerning one in five consumers, to almost one in two, the research showed.

While consideration for climate change and global warming has also risen from 13 per cent of consumers to 50 per cent.

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Global warming has also risen from 13 per cent of consumers to 50 per cent. Pixabay

Also Read: Bullying a Common Factor Leading to LGBTQ Youth Suicides: Researchers

The study also includes consumers’ thoughts on where ultimate responsibility lies in mitigating environmental impact.

Globally, 8 in 10 consumers consider governments as being responsible for environmental protection.

While approximately 70 per cent consider that citizens should also be responsible, 5 in 10 expect companies and brands to uphold their share of the responsibility, said the report. (IANS)

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Bullying a Common Factor Leading to LGBTQ Youth Suicides: Researchers

LGBTQ youth are more likely to be bullied than non-LGBTQ youth

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LGBTQ youth suicides are mainly caused because of bullying. Pixabay

Researchers have found that death records of LGBTQ youth who committed suicide were substantially more likely to mention bullying as a factor than their non-LGBTQ peers.

For the findings, published in the journal ‘JAMA Pediatrics’, the research team reviewed nearly 10,000 death records of youth aged from 10 to 19 years who died by suicide in the US from 2003 to 2017.

While LGBTQ youth are more likely to be bullied and to report suicidal thoughts and behaviours than non-LGBTQ youth, this is believed to be the first study showing that bullying is a more common precursor to suicide among LGBTQ youth than among their peers.

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bullying is a more common precursor to suicide among LGBTQ youth than among their peers. Pixabay

“We expected that bullying might be a more common factor, but we were surprised by the size of the disparity,” said study lead author Kirsty Clark from the Yale University.

“These findings strongly suggest that additional steps need to be taken to protect the LGBTQ youth — and others — against the insidious threat of bullying,” Clark added.

The research team used data from the National Violent Death Reporting System, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-led database that collects information on violent deaths, including suicides, from death certificates, law enforcement reports, and medical examiner and coroner records.

Death records in the database include narrative summaries from law enforcement reports and medical examiner and coroner records regarding the details of the youth’s suicide as reported by family or friends, the youth’s diary, social media posts, and text or email messages, as well as any suicide note.

Bullying
Among 10 to 13-year-olds, over two-thirds of LGBTQ youth’ death records mentioned that they had been bullied. Pixabay

The team searched these narratives for words and phrases that suggested whether the individual was LGBTQ. They followed a similar process to identify death records mentioning bullying. The study found that death records from LGBTQ youth were about five times more likely to mention bullying than non-LGBTQ youth’ death records.

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Among 10 to 13-year-olds, over two-thirds of LGBTQ youth’ death records mentioned that they had been bullied.

Bullying is a major public health problem among the youth, and it is especially pronounced among the LGBTQ youth, said the researchers.

“By showing that bullying is also associated with the life itself for the LGBTQ youth, this study urgently calls for interventions that foster safety, belonging and esteem for all young people,” said study researcher John Pachankis. (IANS)

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Having a Child with Cancer Doesn’t Impact Parents’ Separation: Researchers

Being parents to a cancer patient kid doesn't trigger separation, say researchers

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Chldhood cancer may not trigger seperation among parents according to researchers. Pixabay

Contrary to traditional belief, researchers now say that having a child with cancer did not appear to impact parents’ risk of separation or divorce or affect future family planning.

Childhood cancer can cause feelings of fear and uncertainty among parents and burden them with many practical challenges related to caregiving and work-related obligations, according to the study published in the journal Cancer.

For the findings, the research team from the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre examined data from several registries in Denmark, linking information on parents of children diagnosed with cancer in 1982-2014 (7,066 children and 12,418 case parents) with parents of children without cancer (69,993 children and 125,014 comparison parents).

Parents were followed until 10 years after diagnosis, separation or divorce, death, emigration, or the end of 2017, whichever came first.

Overall, parents of children with cancer had a four per cent lower risk of separation and an eight per cent lower risk of divorce compared with parents of children without cancer.

Among parents of children with cancer, those who were younger had less education, and were unemployed had elevated risks for separation and divorce.

The findings showed that risks were also higher among parents of children diagnosed at a younger age.

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Parents of children with cancer had a four per cent lower risk of separation. Pixabay

The investigators also evaluated how the diagnosis of cancer in a child affects parents’ decisions on having another child.

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They expected that parents of a child with cancer would have fewer children than parents of children without cancer and that they would postpone having another child.

This was not the case, however, as the researchers found that the childhood cancer experience did not negatively affect parents’ future family planning in Denmark.

The researchers noted that health care providers should communicate these reassuring and encouraging findings to parents, but that support should be offered if needed to improve family life in the long term. (IANS)