Mitigation impact of roadside trees on fine particle pollution
Publication date: 1 April 2019
Source: Science of The Total Environment, Volume 659
Author(s): Huseyin Ozdemir
Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is an important air pollutant due to its adverse health effects. Vehicle emissions make a large contribution to particle concentrations in urban areas. Exposure to particles especially near roadways increases the risk of public health problems. Planting vegetation might be used to capture the fine particles at the roadside, which can lower the health risks for the urban population. Istanbul is the most populous city in Turkey, where the number of non-electric cars is increasing rapidly, resulting in decreasing air quality, especially at the roadsides. Recent studies show that cardiovascular, respiratory and total non-accidental mortality is increasing with short-term exposure to outdoor air pollution in Istanbul. In this study, roadside trees were investigated for the mitigation effect on vehicle-related PM2.5 and heavy metal (HM). Cupressus sempervirens (Mediterranean Cypress trees) were planted in three different cases (i.e., no trees-C1, trees with gaps-C2 and thick trees with no gaps-C3) at the study site. Location of the site is on a dense-traffic roadside in Istanbul, where thousands of people are living, working and walking through two sides of this road. PM2.5 samples and tree leaves were examined in the performed experiments. C2 and C3 showed the importance of roadside tree plantation by reducing the exposure to significantly low levels. Roadside PM2.5 concentrations were reduced by 17% in C3, equivalent to urban background levels in the city. Maximum removal of HMs is observed in nickel from 26.4 ± 7.8 to 7.5 ± 2.4 μg m−3. Pedestrian exposure is calculated with the measured data in three experiments and exposure is significantly reduced (e.g., >50% for cadmium and lead exposure) in experiment C3. In conclusion, three experiments showed that Mediterranean Cypress trees significantly decreased particle pollution at roadsides in Istanbul.
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