Expanding urban tree cover can reduce asthma hospitalization
People living in polluted urban areas are far less likely to be admitted to hospital with asthma when there are lots of trees in their neighborhood, suggests a new study published in the journal Environment International.
The study which evaluated more than 650,000 serious asthma attacks over a period of 15 years found that green space and gardens were associated with reductions in asthma hospitalization when pollutant exposures were lower but had no significant association when pollutant exposures were higher.
In contrast, tree density (an extra 300 trees per square km) was associated with fewer emergency asthma hospitalizations- 50 fewer emergency asthma cases per 100,000 residents over the study period in a typical urban area with a high level of background air pollution - 15 µg of PM 2.5 per cubic meter, or a nitrogen dioxide concentration around 33 µg per cubic meter.
Planting trees does not simply improve the esthetics of any city. More importantly, planting trees also helps the environment as trees improve the air quality. Air pollution is not only a major environmental hazard but also a major health hazard, in particular from cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses.
The prevailing high pollution levels should be a matter of concern for us and each one of us should do our bit to help reduce air pollution. Expanding tree cover in areas of high pollution in cities, as suggested in this study, can improve respiratory health.
Each one of us can do something every day to prevent or at least help control the air pollution levels and keep the environment healthy. Planting trees is one way of doing so. It is also an economical way to curb the growing problem of air pollution.
We need to plant more trees to save our environment.