A plant that absorbs polluted air and helps us breathe better

Photo: Wikimedia (Cotoneaster franchetii)

Scientists from the Royal Society of Horticulture (RHS) have discovered that Cotoneaster franchises (quince – winter creeper) can help absorb polluted air on roads with heavy traffic.

In a study that compared how different plants reduce pollution, RHS scientists found that this type of quince is the most effective.

They also compared it with other shrubs, including western red cedar and hawthorn.

According to the findings, it turned out that quince is a “super plant” that can act as a “vacuum cleaner” for air contaminated with fossil fuels.

However, it is interesting that the study found that the plant was more effective in areas with high traffic, while in less busy areas with limited pollution, it was confirmed that the plant was less effective.

Quince is as much as 20 percent better at absorbing pollution compared to all other plants.

“On the main city roads, where there are traffic jams every day, we discovered that plant species with dense canopies, rough and hairy leaves, like those found in quince, are the most efficient. It has been confirmed that in just seven days, a well-maintained, dense, one-meter-long hedge absorbs the same amount of pollution that a car emits while driving almost 800 kilometers, “claims Tijana Blanusa, the study’s lead researcher.

Air pollution is a big concern of the modern world. RHS conducted a survey that included over 2,000 participants to determine their opinion on pollution issues.

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

The results showed that 33 percent of the respondents were affected by air pollution, but that only six percent of them took action on that issue. Namely, only they decided to help by planting plants in their gardens.

The researchers hope that the results of this study will lead citizens to help themselves and others in the fight to improve air quality with the help of their plants. Who would have thought that gardeners would be in the first line of defense against such a great enemy!

“We are constantly identifying new” super plants “with unique qualities, which in combination with other vegetation provide numerous advantages, and at the same time can provide much-needed habitats for wild animals,” explained Alistair Griffiths from RHS.

The study also showed that ivy helps cool buildings, and hawthorn and primrose help mitigate heavy summer rainfall and reduce localized flooding. If these plants are deliberately planted in gardens and other green areas, in places where environmental problems are most prevalent, a significant difference could be made and a contribution to climate change mitigation.

Jovana Canić

Source: Energetski portal Srbije by www.energetskiportal.rs.

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