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Scientists: Green walls lead to cleaner cities

Scientists: Green walls lead to cleaner cities

britomart_3An informative article discussing the scientific benefits of green walls in our cities brought to you by businessgreen.com

“Planting living “green walls” of vegetation could provide a faster and cheaper way of cleaning up the air in cities than large-scale initiatives such as congestion charging, scientists will say today.

Reductions of street level pollution of as much as 30 per cent could be achieved at a low cost simply by growing trees, bushes, and other greenery amid the concrete and glass “street canyons” that characterise modern cities, according to new research published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

Plants clean the air of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, which are blamed for a significant portion of the 35,000 to 50,000 of premature UK deaths that are attributed to outdoor air pollution each year. The World Health Organisation’s outdoor air quality database puts the figure of air quality related premature deaths at more than one million a year worldwide.

Scientists at the Universities of Birmingham and Lancaster say pollution struggles to escape “street canyons”, which makes planting green walls of grass, climbing ivy and other plants far more effective at filtering out pollutants than previously thought.

Computer modelling suggested green walls trumped plants in parks and on roofs, as well as street trees, which were most effective in less polluted streets where high level leaves did not trap polluted air at ground level.

The scientists say rolling out more foliage would be simple to achieve on a street-by-street basis, while plant covered “green billboards” could be installed in urban canyons. Although they also warned care would have to be taken to grow hardy vegetation that can cope with drought, heat stress, or vandalism”

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