With Climate Change and burgeoning populations our Urban Air Quality is suffering! Air pollution in the worlds largest cities contributes to 7 million premature deaths each year. It is estimated that by the year 2050 two-thirds of the worlds population will live in an urban area. With this will bring more cases of Asthma, Heart Disease, Infections and Various Cancers to name a few..
Air pollution in the United States, although having improved over the last decade due to EPA Air Quality regulations, is still a major factor in the rise in illnesses (especially with the young and the elderly).
According to a 2009 report, around “60 percent of Americans live in areas where air pollution has reached unhealthy levels that can make people sick” 1] Pollution in the United States has plummeted in the recent decade, with pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide decreasing despite the fact the number of vehicles on the road isn’t. This is due to better regulations, economic shifts, and technological innovations.
You can thank the EPA for Air Quality improvements!
According to Wikipedia concerning Air Quality in the United States,
“In the 1960s, 1970s, and 1990s, the United States Congress enacted a series of Clean Air Acts which significantly strengthened regulation of air pollution. Individual U.S. states, some European nations and eventually the European Union followed these initiatives. The Clean Air Act sets numerical limits on the concentrations of a basic group of air pollutants and provide reporting and enforcement mechanisms.
In 1999, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) replaced the Pollution Standards Index (PSI) with the Air Quality Index (AQI) to incorporate new PM2.5 and Ozone standards.
The effects of these laws have been very positive. In the United States between 1970 and 2006, citizens enjoyed the following reductions in annual pollution emissions:
- carbon monoxide emissions fell from 197 million tons to 89 million tons
- nitrogen oxide emissions fell from 27 million tons to 19 million tons
- sulfur dioxide emissions fell from 31 million tons to 15 million tons
- particulate emissions fell by 80%
- lead emissions fell by more than 98%”
The Effect of Trees on our Air Quality
According to North Carolina State University “A tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and can sequester 1 ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old. ”
According to Yahoo Answers, it takes 22 trees to provide oxygen for one person, it takes 1 acre of forest to provide enough oxygen for 18 people!
Many cities in the have City Tree programs where volunteers and paid programs alike buy and plant trees to help beautify as well as provide replacements for trees that have been removed by development or died out over time. Quite a few cities in the world boast the title/nickname of “City of Trees”. A claim that announces to the world how much esteem they hold their parks and open areas. Unfortunately several of our American Cities have dropped that nickname!
City of Trees is a former nickname of:
- Brooklyn, New York, United States
- Detroit, Michigan, United States
- Highland Park, Michigan, United States
- Pittsburg, California, United States
- Washington, DC, United States
Urbanization is to Blame
For many decades urbanization has removed large areas of forested land in order to build our subdivisions and shopping malls. Only in the last few decades have developers realize the benefits of trees for the addition of value to their subdivisions and have included larger green belts and tree lined avenues. But Alas…too little too late.
So even when we have reduced emissions, what is the problem. The sheer number of vehicles! Burgeoning World Populations! The lack of public transportation! and the lack of space to plant more forests. Unfortunately Air Pollution is International. Our Pollution is carried in the winds across the Atlantic, Asia’s Pollution is carried across the Pacific to the United States!
Almost a third of the air over Los Angeles and San Francisco can be traced directly to Asia. With it comes up to three-quarters of the black carbon particulate pollution that reaches the West Coast.
What is a CityTree?
The CityTree is a mobile application that has been being placed in many of our worlds cities. Within a 4 meter tall by 3 meter wide and 2 meter wide area, it provides as much air cleaning power as a forest of 275 trees!
“Moss is in the air”
What Can We Do?
If you treasure the air you breath, promote clean air measures such as this to your local politicians and Councils!