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Study Reveals That Plants and Trees are Effective Options to Curb Air Pollution

The findings indicate that nature should be a part of the planning process to deal with air pollution

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Calculations of The Study included the capacity of current vegetation - including Trees, grasslands and shrublands - to mitigate air pollution. Pixabay

Plants and Trees may be better and cheaper options than technology to mitigate air pollution, says a new study from an Indian-origin researcher.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, found that adding plants and trees to the landscapes near factories and other pollution sources could reduce air pollution by an average of 27 per cent.

Researchers found that in 75 per cent of the countries analysed, it was cheaper to use plants to mitigate air pollution than it was to add technological interventions – things like smokestack scrubbers – to the sources of pollution.

“The fact is that traditionally, especially as engineers, we don’t think about nature; we just focus on putting technology into everything,” said Indian-origin researcher and study lead author Bhavik Bakshi from the Ohio State University.

“And so, one key finding is that we need to start looking at nature and learning from it and respecting it. There are win-win opportunities if we do – opportunities that are potentially cheaper and better environmentally,” he added.

To start understanding the effect that trees and other plants could have on air pollution, the researchers collected public data on air pollution and vegetation on a county-by-county basis across the lower 48 states.

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Plants and Trees may be better and cheaper options than technology to mitigate air pollution, says a new study from an Indian-origin researcher. Pixabay

Then, they calculated what adding additional trees and plants might cost.

Their calculations included the capacity of current vegetation – including trees, grasslands and shrublands – to mitigate air pollution.

They also considered the effect that restorative planting – bringing the vegetation cover of a given county to its county-average levels – might have on air pollution levels.

They estimated the impact of plants on the most common air pollutants – sulfur dioxide, particulate matter that contributes to smog, and nitrogen dioxide.

They found that restoring vegetation to county-level average canopy cover reduced air pollution an average of 27 per cent across the counties.

Their research did not calculate the direct effects plants might have on ozone pollution, because, Bakshi said, the data on ozone emissions is lacking.

Trees
The study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, found that adding Plants and Trees to the landscapes near factories and other pollution sources could reduce air pollution by an average of 27 per cent. Pixabay

They found that adding trees or other plants could lower air pollution levels in both urban and rural areas, though the success rates varied depending on, among other factors, how much land was available to grow new plants and the current air quality.

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The findings indicate that nature should be a part of the planning process to deal with air pollution, and show that engineers and builders should find ways to incorporate both technological and ecological systems. (IANS)

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Alarming Pollution Levels Causing Eye Problems in Delhi

"See an eye doctor as soon as possible and avoid prolonged exposure of eyes to pollution," the experts added

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Pollution, pollutants, India, air pollution, WHO, diwali
Delhi air quality continues to be 'very poor'. VOA

With pollution levels reaching alarming levels in the national capital, ophthalmologists have observed a sharp rise in the number of patients suffering from eye problems including allergy, burning and itching.

According to Ikeda Lal, an opthalmologist at the Delhi Eye Centre and Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi, pollutants and dust in the air is one of the major reasons for causing eye allergy and other related problems.

“We are observing an increase in number of patients coming to us with complains of redness, itching, watering in the eyes. Patients with pre-existing dry eyes are experiencing exacerbation due to high pollution,” Lal said.

He added that opthalmologists were observing almost increase of 30-35 per cent in the number of patients coming with eye-related problems.

“Due to increasing pollution, there is increase in the incidence of dry eye and ocular allergy. This is causing discomfort even in normal eyes and aggravates the eye complaints in eyes that are prone to dryness and allergies,” said Rajesh Sinha, Professor of Ophthalmology, AIIMS.

“If care is not taken immediately, some of these eyes can have reduced vision due to this problem as well,” he added.

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People in India are also at a risk of developing cardiovascular diseases due to the air pollution. Pixabay

Lal also said that people with complains of itching in the eyes are likely to suffer from allergic eye disease.

Patients with pre-existing dry eyes may experience excessive dryness, irritation and burning due to ocular surface inflammation.

In case of any eye related problems, consulting an ophthalmologist is recommended and exposure to polluted air should be minimized, the doctor said.

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To deal with eye related allergies caused due to pollution, Doctors suggests that do not rub eyes if they itch, wash eyes with clean water; repeat if it still feels uncomfortable, cold compresses also help in relieving mild itching.

“See an eye doctor as soon as possible and avoid prolonged exposure of eyes to pollution,” the experts added. (IANS)