Good air quality plays a major role in the health of people living in urban environments. People who live in concentrated urban areas are often exposed to high levels of pollution, which unfortunately damage their health.
Good air quality plays a major role in the health of people living in urban environments.
People who live in concentrated urban areas are often exposed to high levels of pollution, which unfortunately damage their health. We are all at risk, but it is the elderly, children and those that already suffer from heart or respiratory conditions that are acutely vulnerable. People with asthma are particularly exposed. All of these people are especially at risk of developing cardiovascular problems, respiratory diseases and lung cancer. It is a wonder why governments don’t do more to help alleviate these issues.
The pollutants we breathe are a direct result from human activity such as the burning of fossil fuels, vehicle and industry emissions. Ammonia, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, benzene, nitrates, sulphates and black carbon are just some of the pollutants found in our air.
So, Can Living Roofs Improve The Environment?
There’s been a lot of research carried out over the years which have shown quite categorically that natural vegetation improves the quality of the environment we live in. Amongst the many advantages to be gained is the reduction of atmospheric pollutants because plants filter out gaseous contaminants.
The bigger the plant, the more effective it is. Therefore, trees are the most effective tool in removing airborne contaminants. However, the problem is that in high density urban areas, the opportunities to plant lots of trees are limited due to lack of space.
So what do we do? Well, we have to look up for the solution. Our towns and cities have a large amount of rooftop space that can provide much of the desired space that could be repurposed to accommodate green roofs. As mentioned in previous articles, it would be highly impractical and far too costly to plants lots of trees on our roofs. Therefore, by creating intensive green roofs using shrubs, sedum or even grasses, we offer a practical solution to the problem.
Living roofs retain harmful particulates in the living roof system itself. Recent research has found that that the levels of atmospheric pollutants was reduced by 6% in the air above after a green roof had been installed. This might not knock you off your chair, but let’s face it, reducing air pollution by creating living roofs on our buildings cannot be worse than not having a green roof at all.
It might be, that some governmental policies or financial incentives would be needed to speed up the process. If the government could take a long term view there would be financial, environmental and health benefits for all of us. At the same time, there are no excuses for the construction sector or indeed individuals to not to take the greening of our roofs in to their own hands.