Trees are giant air conditioners and purifiers!
A recent study by the Nature Conservancy found that air near an urban tree was as much as 24% cleaner than air farther away from trees.
Specifically, there was less particulate matter (microscopic particles of pollution that get lodged in lungs) in the air surrounding trees.
Air pollution is expected to kill up to 6 million people by 2050.
Lead author of the study Rob MacDonald says planting more trees in cities could help prevent that.
That’s because trees act as giant air filters, filtering the particulate matter back into the earth.
They also act as air conditioners, apparently, reducing surrounding air temperatures by up to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the study found.
Large, healthy trees had the greatest effect.
Unfortunately, almost all of the cities studied we’re losing more trees than they were gaining.
If each citizen of those cities spent an extra $4 a year planting trees, up to 36,000 lives per year could be saved, MacDonald said.
As everyone within an urban area breathes the same air, the pollution does not discriminate – both rich and poor are exposed to the dangers,” the BBC notes.
But, people living near the source of industrial pollution or busy roads are more exposed and more affected, the study said.