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Trees Around Factories Could Absorb 27% of Air Pollution

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

trees filter air pollution

Story at-a-glance -

  • Nature-based solutions can compete with technology to reduce toxic air emissions across the U.S.
  • Restoring natural areas to county-level average canopy cover could reduce air pollution by an average of 27%
  • In 75% of the counties, nature-based solutions ended up being less expensive than technological interventions such as smokestack scrubbers in mitigating pollution
  • Maintaining current levels of vegetation as well as restoring vegetation cover in industrial areas could help reduce some of the most common types of air pollutants, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter
  • A mycorrhizae network connects trees to each other in mind-blowing ways, such that trees might be viewed as beings with a capacity for intelligence, decision-making, learning and memory

Trees are one of nature's greatest gifts, one that could be harnessed to strategically reduce air pollution in some of the most problematic spaces, such as near factories, industrial sites, roadways and power plants. In fact, nature-based solutions can compete with technology to reduce toxic air emissions across the U.S., according to research published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

What's intriguing is that existing natural areas, including forest, grassland and shrubland vegetation, are already responsible for mitigating a significant portion of U.S. air emissions, according to the study, which suggests that restoring natural land cover where possible could be a key strategy to improving air quality.

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