Urban Vegetation Reduces Air Pollution by 40-60%

By Michael Graham Richard, TreeHugger

One More Reason to Hug Trees

It is well known that vegetation is good at filtering air indoors (check out the list of the best air-filtering house plants according to NASA!) and outdoors, but a new research paper shows that they might be even better than we thought. And not just a little bit, but up to 8x more when it comes to common urban pollutants like nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and disease-causing particulate matter (PM).

“The study concluded that judicious placement of grass, climbing ivy and other plants in urban canyons can reduce the concentration at street level of NO2 by as much as 40 percent and PM by 60 percent, much more than previously believed. The authors even suggest building plant-covered “green billboards” in these urban canyons to increase the amount of foliage. Trees were also shown to be effective, but only if care is taken to avoid trapping pollutants beneath their crowns.”

It would be very interesting to do more studies and figure out how to get the maximum air-filtration effect out of urban vegetation, and then make sure that urban planners use those best practices. The world is urbanizing fast, and while we can improve the air quality in cities by making it easier to walk, cycle, or take transit and by electrifying vehicles, whatever air pollution is left should be cleaned up, and vegetation is our best ally to do that.

(via Eurekalert)


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Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla3 years ago

No surprised at all, thanks for posting!

Cindy Rhodes
Cindy Rhodes3 years ago

makes a whole lot of sense to me.

Michael Kirkby
Michael Kirkby4 years ago

I'm seeing more and more trees and shrubbery on high rises and new buildings in Toronto.

Dale Overall

Fabulous, the more vegetation the better as it is lovely to look at and has wonderful environmental properties. Make urban jungles less a concentrate quagmire and add lush vegetation to the mix. Some cities feature a lot of green spaces making them more pleasant and delightful.

Richard T.
Richard T.4 years ago

Thank you!

Miranda Parkinson

Good stuff! Can't understand why this doesn't catch on everywhere and a whole lot faster.

Heather M
Heather Marv4 years ago

Good post. Trees, bushes etc are necessary for our wild life also, birds, possums, insects etc. All add good nature to our environment.

ii q.
g d c.4 years ago


Kate Bates
Kate Bates4 years ago

I have four huge pine trees around my front porch. In addition to keeping the porch cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, they have a lovely fragrance in the evening, especially in the fall and winter. Their needles make a nice soft circle, it's sort of a mulch & weeds come out with surprising ease.

I've tried to find my house on google earth, but all that is visible are the towering pines.

Patricia G.
pgal Gall4 years ago

YES,,,I think there are many ways to fix the ecology and clean up the air. I love trees and the color of green green grass..... after a rainfall...