Simply planting a hedge in front of a park can halve the amount of traffic pollution that reaches children as they play, finds a new study by the University of Surrey.
In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, experts from Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) conducted a five-month continuous experiment, measuring traffic pollutants with the use of emerging pollution sensing technology behind and in front of a hedge that shielded a children’s park in Guildford, United Kingdom.
The study aimed to measure any discernible difference in pollution reduction during the vegetation cycle of a Beech hedge – from dormancy to green-up to maturity.
The results showed that a drop in pollution concentration levels behind the hedge was dominated by three factors – the weather, public holidays, and the stage of the hedge’s life cycle.
GCARE experts reported reductions of more than 50 per cent of the particulate matter after the hedge’s green-up stage in late April. Experts believe that this could be because the density of the hedge or the stickiness of the leaves had a sizable impact on particle pollutants passing through it. However, the results also revealed smaller reductions for gaseous pollutants including carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, and that wind direction had little impact on the concentration levels.
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