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According to a recent study from the University of Surrey, tall and dense trees can be effective weapons against traffic’s toxic nanoparticles that enter our lungs and bodies and severely damage our human health. Trees can provide better protection than any other green infrastructure.
The study appeared in Science of Total Environment and was supported by the EPSRC-funded INHALE project, UGPN’s SCAN project, and the RECLAIM Network. Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) developed a model to predict how various types of the green infrastructure placed in, near, or around cities can impact the spread of toxic airborne nanoparticles. If infrastructures helped improve the air quality in the town was also examined.
No detailed knowledge is available as to the impacts of different green infrastructures on the dispersion of the toxic nanoparticles from vehicles that are damaging human health, according to Professor Prashant Kumar, the co-author of the study and the founding Director of GCARE at the University of Surrey. He further adds that the research provides humanity with several tools and technologies to fight climate change and reduce the impacts of toxic pollutants on public health.
To conduct the study, a team of researchers examined the road network in the South East of England. It included the M25, A3, A31, A331, and other road networks. The team investigated the impacts that Coniferous trees (tall, dense, and evergreen), deciduous trees (mature trees that usually shed their leaves in autumn), and grassland (large grass covers) had on vehicle-related pollution dispersion.
The study by GCARE also developed a model to predict the future scenario of how the toxic particles could spread in 2039. 2039 is actually the year that the United Kingdom is to adopt new vehicle standards. These new standards could significantly reduce the volume of particles and pollution emitted by vehicles.
According to the study, the United Kingdom’s governmental efforts will notably reduce the spread of pollution and toxic particles by 2039. However, various policies and regulations need to be passed to ensure that the country doesn’t waste the opportunities that electric cars present.
The United Kingdom’s government is promoting the use of electric vehicles. Professor Kumar states that the increasing shift from current vehicles to hybrid or electric vehicles, along with tall tree cover around cities, is definitely the perfect solution to the world’s vehicle-based air pollution issues.