Vegetation Around School Playgrounds Protects Kids from Air Pollution


Publicity to traffic-related air air pollution has been linked with a variety of well being dangers together with cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological well being. These dangers are more likely to be exacerbated in younger youngsters attending major colleges subsequent to busy roads as their main organs are nonetheless creating and youngsters have a better respiration price than adults.

A staff of researchers led by Barbara Maher, Emeritus Professor at Lancaster College, and supported by Groundwork Higher Manchester, put in ‘tredges’ (bushes managed as a head-high hedge) at three Manchester major colleges throughout the summer time faculty holidays of 2019.

One faculty had an ivy display screen put in, one other had western crimson cedar and the third faculty had a combination of western crimson cedar, Swedish birch and an inside juniper hedge. A fourth faculty, with no planting, was used as a management.


The varsity with the ivy display screen noticed a considerable discount in playground particulate matter concentrations, however a rise in black carbon. The playground with the combination of planting noticed decrease reductions in air air pollution to that of the western crimson cedar.

The most important general reductions in particulate matter and black carbon have been proven on the faculty with western crimson cedar planted. The outcomes confirmed virtually half (49%) of black carbon and round 46% and 26% of the wonderful particulates, PM2.5 and PM1 emitted by passing site visitors have been captured by the western crimson cedar tredges.

The tredges additionally considerably lowered the magnitude and frequency of acute ‘spikes’ in air air pollution reaching the playgrounds.

Professor Maher mentioned: “Our findings show that we can protect school playgrounds, with carefully chosen and managed tredges, which capture air pollution particulates on their leaves. This helps to prevent at least some of the health hazards imposed on young children at schools next to busy roads where the localized air quality is damagingly poor, and it can be done quickly and cost-effectively.”

The scientists consider that western crimson cedar carried out greatest at stopping the particulate air air pollution from reaching the playground as a result of its prolific, small, tough, evergreen leaves act like a filter, capturing particulate air pollution and stopping it circulating within the ambiance. When it rains, the particulates wash off – ending up within the soil or drains – enabling the leaves to then seize extra particulate air pollution.

Professor Maher mentioned: “Western red cedar tredges work well because this species’ leaves form millions of tiny rough corrugated projections, each of which can bump into the particulates suspended in the air and ‘capture’ them in their ridges, furrows and pores.

“This takes them out of the native ambiance and subsequently reduces the publicity to those traffic-sourced air air pollution particulates of the kids and workers within the playground.”

The researchers believe species like ivy were not as effective at capturing particulate pollution as the western red cedar because of the smooth, waxy surface of its leaves. It therefore acts more akin to a fence where it blocks the transport of some particulate matter but is not as effective at capturing and thus removing it from the air.

The researchers suggest these benefits highlighted by the study are not just limited to schools and that carefully selected and managed tredges could be used in other parts of urban areas to reduce the damaging health impacts of exposure to traffic pollution.

The study was supported with funding from Manchester City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester, and Groundwork Greater Manchester which installed the tredges and ran ‘citizen science’ workshops with classes from the schools to highlight issues around air quality and steps young people and their families can take to make a difference.

Councillor Tracey Rawlins, Executive Member for Environment for Manchester City Council, said: “We have been eager to be a part of this examine as Manchester seeks to embrace innovation in our efforts to turn into a greener metropolis with cleaner air and deal with local weather change. We notice these optimistic findings with curiosity and can think about how we are able to use the teachings from this venture to make additional focused use of inexperienced infrastructure within the metropolis.”

The examine’s findings are detailed within the paper ‘Defending playgrounds: local-scale discount of airborne particulate matter concentrations via particulate deposition on roadside ‘tredges’ (inexperienced infrastructure)’.

Researchers on the paper embody: Barbara Maher and Vassil Karloukovski of Lancaster College; Tomasz Gonet, previously of Lancaster College and now Jaguar Land Rover; Huixia Wang of Xi’an College of Structure and Expertise, China; and Thomas Bannan, College of Manchester.

Supply: Newswise


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