Air pollution removal by urban forests in Canada and its effect on air quality and human health
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Urban Forestry & Urban Greening
Urban trees perform a number of ecosystem services including air pollution removal, carbon sequestration, cooling air temperatures and providing aesthetic beauty to the urban landscape. Trees remove air pollution by intercepting particulate matter on plant surfaces and absorbing gaseous pollutants through the leaf stomata. Computer simulations with local environmental data reveal that trees in 86 Canadian cities removed 16,500 tonnes (t) of air pollution in 2010 (range: 7500–21,100 t), with human health effects valued at 227.2 million Canadian dollars (range: $52.5–402.6 million). Annual pollution removal varied among cities and ranged up to 1740 t in Vancouver, British Columbia. Overall health impacts included the avoidance of 30 incidences of human mortality (range: 7–54) and 22,000 incidences of acute respiratory symptoms (range: 7900–31,100) across these cities.
KeywordsAir pollution removal; Air quality; Ecosystem services; Human mortality; Urban forests
Nowak, David J.; Hirabayashi, Satoshi; Doyle, Marlene; McGovern, Mark; Pasher, Jon. 2018. Air pollution removal by urban forests in Canada and its effect on air quality and human health. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 29: 40-48. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2017.10.019.