Apparently, these clouds have no silver linings. Air pollution is not only bad for our health but also poses a significant risk to the wellbeing of our environment. As you might already know, burning fossil fuels and biomass emit black carbon, a component that contributes to the global temperature rise and exacerbates climate change. But the clouds are already cast today. Do we have any chance of a bright day tomorrow?
Of course we have. The good thing is that world leaders in the Paris Agreement have actually addressed the emission problem. And the UN Climate Summit initiates the Race To Zero campaign to help us reach net zero by 2050. Governments and businesses worldwide have also been developing technologies for cleaner energy and implementing policies to reduce their emissions. So we have a lot of hope.
Like many other things in the world today, though, such efforts could be easier said than done as they are usually costly and extensive. So researchers looked for better alternatives and came up with a possible solution: trees. Cost-effective and more efficient, could nature itself provide the answer to our global emission problem?
A new study conducted near US industrial sites reveals that adding more plants and trees could effectively reduce air pollution by an average of 27 percent. The research team also found that among the entire states investigated, three-quarter of them proved that this nature-based solution is more cost-effective and efficient compared to using technologies.
This outcome is also evident in ForestResearch's investigation in London: planting more trees in urban spaces has reportedly lowered the number of premature mortality and respiratory hospital admissions. After adding trees and other vegetation, roughly two deaths and two hospital admissions can be averted each year.
At this point, you might be wondering how trees combat air pollution. Well, to put it simply, they function as a filter. Trees improve the air quality by absorbing harmful pollutants through their stomata, leaving cleaner, less polluted air for us to breathe. Through photosynthesis, they capture carbon dioxide and release oxygen, as well as reducing on-ground ozone that is dangerous for us.
By taking out these greenhouse gases, trees can help us tackle air pollution and climate change at once. So, next time you see a poster with overused taglines like "plant trees, save lives," you know it's true. Planting trees can indeed save your life (and our beloved planet).
Here at APP, we've been trying our best to reduce emissions as much as possible. We use a higher proportion of renewable energy to ensure that we operate sustainably and contribute as little as possible to air pollution and climate change. With the latest technologies and monitoring equipment, we're also able to keep track and control our emissions constantly. You can learn more about it here on our sustainability page.
And as a company that basically runs by planting a lot of trees, we surely welcome this latest discovery from the researchers. We also implement zero-deforestation policy across our supply chains, expand our forest conservation efforts beyond our concession areas, and even take part in restoration efforts. So, hopefully, everybody will always have a lot of trees to help us fight air pollution!
Well, what about you, thinking of growing a little tree or plant in your backyard after this? While it is a good idea, there are actually other simpler alternatives that you can do to reduce air pollution, such as turning off lights when they are not in use, choosing to bike instead of driving your car, or using energy-efficient appliances at home. You decide. Just remember to start small but make it count.
If you’d like to know the best ways to start, be sure to check out this article. What, you want more? Sure, just stay tuned to APP Stories and follow our social media account on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more tips on how to live a greener lifestyle and have a brighter tomorrow!