The amazing ability for trees to take toxins out of the air means less toxins to promote the spread of the Corona Virus pandemic. The more trees we protect and the more trees we plant the greater the potential. How do I know this? Well, because I spent time doing the research. Here it is below for you to read.
Air Pollution is linked to Corona Virus Deaths this is because it encourages the virus and its deadly consequences in two ways: The virus can be transported on particulates and the damage caused to our bodies by air pollution makes us more susceptible to the virus.
Pollution and it’s Physical effects on the human body
A new study proves that areas that had high levels of air pollution before the outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) are more likely to see patients die from the infection during its spread, according to a new report from Harvard University.
Harvard says this is the first study to make an explicit link between air pollution and COVID-19 deaths
Researchers at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed 3,080 counties in the United States and found that an increase of just 1 microgram per cubic meter of fine particulate matter (air pollution also known as PM 2.5) led to an increase in death rates, even when factoring in smoking, the weather and population density.
They collected air quality data from 3,000 counties across the US and concluded that just a slight increase in PM2.5, atmospheric particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres, which is about 3 percent of the diameter of a human hair, was associated with a 15 percent increase in COVID-19 deaths.
This study also warns that governments across the world must continue to regulate air pollution and work hard to cut emissions, even when the worst of the pandemic is over. Cities across the world are seeing a reduction in emissions as people are social distancing and staying home, and the researchers said lessons must be learned.
"The results of this study also underscore the importance of continuing to enforce existing air pollution regulations during the Covid-19 crisis," the report reads. "Based on our result, we anticipate a failure to do so can potentially increase the Covid-19 death toll and hospitalizations, further burdening our health-care system and drawing resources away from Covid-19 patients."
Exposure to air pollution and COVID-19 mortality in the United States. Xiao Wu, Rachel C. Nethery, Benjamin M. Sabath, Danielle Braun, Francesca Dominici. medRxiv 2020.04.05.20054502; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.05.20054502
This is not the first time an epidemic's worst effects have been linked to high levels of air pollution. The researchers wrote their findings ....
"are consistent with findings that air pollution exposure dramatically increased the risk of death during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, which is caused by another type of coronavirus."
Pollution and its role in spreading the virus:
Two further research projects draw similar conclusions but from the perspective of spreading the virus.
In a European study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, coronavirus deaths across 66 administrative regions of Italy, France, Spain and Germany were analysed. It found that 78 percent of the deaths occurred in just five regions - those five regions were the most polluted.
In a letter to the Journal Of Infection on 10 April 2020 called ‘Regional air pollution persistence links to COVID-19 infection zoning’ by Antonio Frontera,a Claire Martin,b Kostantinos Vlachos,c and Giovanni Sgubind. The scientists noted that (at that time)
“the countries with the highest number of COVID-19 infections were China and Italy. There is a common link between these countries which is the very high level of air pollutants.”
The ArcelorMittal steel works dominates the skyline from an old abandoned 'masseria', an Italian fortified farmhouse on a country estate, in Taranto, southern Italy, on March 9, 2019. When the wind is strong, the local authorities close schools as the air fills with toxic dust from heavy metals, and children are told to stay indoors.
The scientists therefore suggest
“that the atmosphere, rich of air pollutants, together with certain climatic conditions may promote a longer permanence of the of viral particles in the air, thus favouring an “indirect” diffusion in addition to the direct one (individual to individual).”
The Coronavirus had been detected on particles of air pollution by scientists investigating whether this could enable it to be carried over longer distances and increase the number of people infected.
Italian scientists used standard techniques to collect outdoor air pollution samples at one urban and one industrial site in Bergamo province and identified a gene highly specific to Covid-19 in multiple samples. The detection was confirmed by blind testing at an independent laboratory. This makes sense because Bergamo is one of the most polluted areas in Italy.
You can investigate these reports for yourself. It is important to be aware of the facts and I have included a number of links at the bottom of this article.
How Can Trees Help Stop The Virus?
In the US over a 50-year lifespan, a tree generates almost $32,000 worth of oxygen, providing $62,000 worth of air pollution control.
The Worldwatch Institute, in its Reforesting the Earth paper, estimated that the earth needs at least 321 million acres of trees planted just to restore and maintain the productivity of soil and water resources, annually remove 780 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere and meet industrial and fuel wood needs in the third world. For every ton of new-wood growth, about 1.5 tons of CO2 are removed from the air and 1.07 tons of life-giving oxygen is produced.
Trees also remove other gaseous pollutants through the stomata in the leaf surface by absorbing them with normal air components. Some of the other major air pollutants and their primary sources are:
• Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) – Sixty percent of sulfur dioxide comes from coal burning for electricity and home heating while 21 percent comes from refining and the combustion of petroleum products. • Ozone (O3) – Ozone is a naturally occurring oxidant that exists in the upper atmosphere. O3 may be brought to Earth by turbulence during severe storms. Also, small amounts are formed by lightning. Automobile emissions and industrial emissions mix in the air and undergo photochemical reactions in sunlight releasing ozone and another oxidant, peroxyacetylnitrate (PAN). Naturally, high concentrations of these two oxidants build up where there are many automobiles. • Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) – Probably the largest producer of nitrogen oxide is automotive exhaust. These are also formed by high temperature combustion when two natural air components are present; nitrogen and oxygen. • Particulates – These are small particles emitted in smoke from burning fuel, particularly diesel, which enters our lungs and causes respiratory problems. With trees present, there is up to a 60 percent reduction in street-level particulates.
American studies have shown that in one urban park, tree cover removed 48 pounds of particulates, 9 pounds of nitrogen dioxide, 6 pounds of sulfur dioxide, 0.5 pounds of carbon monoxide and 100 pounds of carbon – daily. It has also been noted that one sugar maple along a roadway removes 60mg cadmium, 140mg chromium, 820mg nickel and 5,200mg lead from the environment in one growing season.
Compelling scientific evidence for the role of pollution in contributing to Covid 19 and the huge impact trees already have in absorbing pollutants.
The message is crystal clear. We must look after our biosphere and its inhabitants if we wish to remain healthy!
It’s not rocket science to see that two ways we can personally to contribute towards a solution is to protect the trees we already have and to plant more! (Naturally this is as part of a wider package of measures to change our lifestyles to include less commuting where possible for example and reducing our overall carbon footprint.)
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Thank you for reading
Amanda Claire x
PS Here are some of the links below that I used for my research:
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I live with a disability and I'm passionate about enabling people to 'Live With Art And Soul'
and connect with trees and nature.
I'm the founder of Ancient and Sacred Trees which is entirely unpaid volunteer run. I'm an MA Archaeology student, artist, teacher, healer and land guide. I love trees, history and the healing power of Mother Nature and sacred connection.