Cleaning the polluted air: as easy as planting a tree

If we don't address our pollution issues and clean our air NOW, we could all end up living under a dome.

Life provides too many distractions: phone calls, emails and everything on Facebook. When time allows my thoughts to wander beyond my little world, many times it rests upon how we can improve the environment or at the least, reduces our negative impact on it. Almost always, plants find their way into my ideas for helping the situation in one way or another.

The recent wildfires in San Diego County brought clouds of black smoke, ash and the loss of primarily native vegetation in undeveloped areas. Our first responders are working hard to contain the danger, but not without the loss of trees and habitat.

Oh no, here we go all over again.

A look at the city of Beijing, China, before and after industrial development polluted the city's air.

A look at the city of Beijing, China, before and after industrial development polluted the city’s air. Photo: Wikipedia

With all of the smoke in the air, imagine waking up daily like people in China and India to put on our facemasks before going outside. Every day. China’s smog is so bad that it is like a “nuclear winter” so bad it is even stopping the process of photosynthesis, according to an article in The Daily Mail this week. The situation is so desperate that some say it could affect food production.

What options do the people of China and India have when it comes to living with such toxic air quality? If you are one of the “haves,” you can build your home with filters and green plants to clean the air. What if you are a “have not?” Are you limited to a facemask purchased at the corner store and running to and from your home each day only to limit your air exposure? It’s tragic to think how an x-ray of a “haves'” lungs might look next to those of a “have not” after a lifetime of breathing bad air.

Most of us are aware of how beneficial plants are and how they can help reduce VOCs (volatile organic compounds) found within air. What about planting millions of trees as part of a big solution? While putting a dome over entire cities might not be feasible, perhaps a cover for athletic fields and fragile ecosystems might be a start to protect young lungs as kids exercise and farmers grow crops.

If big business won’t stop oozing pollutants daily, we need to think outside the box. Immediate action is clearly needed. It can start locally and hopefully grow globally. It’s easy. First, plant more trees! For the indoors, typical house plants such as aloe, spider plants, pothos and chrysthanthemums are an easy fix to help clean your interior air at home and work.

If we don't address our pollution issues and clean our air NOW, we could all end up living under a dome.

If we don’t address our pollution issues and clean our air NOW, we could all end up living under a dome. Photo: CBS

 

If we don’t find a starting point somewhere, we might find ourselves living under a dome in order to take a deep breath.