Haven’t you noticed that when you walk round areas that have trees that you can breathe better? This is because the trees around you are respiring huge amounts of oxygen.
When animals and humans breathe, we inhale oxygen present in the air and exhale the carbon dioxide. In trees and plants though, it’s the other way around.
Photosynthesis is the process wherein sunlight, carbon from carbon dioxide and water make up the food of the plant that is called carbohydrate or better known as sugar. When this process is completed, there is extra oxygen from the water. This oxygen is excreted by the plant, thus giving us the oxygen we breathe in the air.
Devoid of trees and other plants, Earth will not be fit to live in if not at all. We need trees so that they can make the oxygen we breathe.
Natural Health News — A major new assessment in the US has shown that trees are saving lives and preventing acute respiratory symptoms – and therefore saving everyone money.
If you are residing in an urban area, the advantages are grander.
Aerial contaminants are related with a wide array of negative health effects on the lungs, heart, circulatory and neurological systems.
It is estimated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and avoiding 670,000 occurrences of acute respiratory symptoms.
Writing in the journal Environmental Pollution the researchers says that while trees’ ability to remove pollution equated to an average air quality improvement of less than 1%, the impacts of that improvement are substantial, cutting healthcare and other costs by around $7 billion every year.
Putting a value on nature
The study is unlike others because while many studies have projected pollution removal by trees most do not exactly link the removal with enhanced human health effects nor do they put a fiscal worth on those benefits.
In this study the greatest amount of pollution removal was for O3 and NO2, while the greatest value in terms of savings on healthcare costs was associated with removal was for PM2.5 and O3.
Tree cover was associated with a national reduction of more than 850 deaths. In the US there are around 130,000 PM2.5-related deaths and 4,700 ozone-related deaths each year. Although the life-saving effect of having trees in your area may seem small (approximately .6%) it amounts to a big saving in terms of healthcare and other costs.
Based on the current number of trees in the US the researchers calculate that these helped reduce more than 670,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms, 430,000 incidences of asthma exacerbation and 200,000 days off school.
The benefits of tree cover vary from area to area. Tree cover in the US is estimated at 34.2% of the land, but varies from 2.6% in North Dakota to 88.9% in New Hampshire. States with the greatest pollution removal rates were California, Texas and Georgia, while states which saw the greatest savings in healthcare and other costs were Florida, Pennsylvania and California.
Big benefits for city dwellers
Researchers found that while pollution amputation is considerably higher in rural areas than in urban areas, the influences on human health are significantly greater in urban areas than rural areas.
For example, because human populations are more clustered in urban areas, the health effects of trees, and their importance in terms of avoiding disease in urban areas have reported for around 68% of the $7 billion savings.
“We found that in general, the greater the tree cover, the greater the pollution removal, and the greater the removal and population density, the greater the value of human health benefits.” said researcher Dave Nowak of the US Forest Service’s Northern Research Station.
With more than 80% of Americans living in urban area, this research underscores how essential urban forests are for human wellbeing.
Other than adding color to the concrete plains of the city, trees prove themselves as important for the benefits they can give to health and to the pocket therefore.
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