Guest contributor Mediaworks gives advice on using nature
Be protected by nature:
At the start of the year, the Guardian reported how London had reached its legal limit for air pollution for the entire year in less than a month. Sadly, 40,000 deaths every year have been attributed to air pollution in more built-up areas of the UK.
Living in a city or urban area, no doubt you’re concerned about air pollution levels. But don’t worry — there are things you can do to clean up the air around your home. Head out into the garden and we’ll show you how!
For a splash of colour: the wallflower
A great place to start with your air-cleaning garden is the colourful wallflower! Goldsmiths also names this plant as being akin to the common ivy for its particulate-cleansing power. These flowers have a bright display of petals during the first half of the year. You can grow wallflowers in many colours, with purple and yellow popular choices.
Conifers to shield you
Hedges make a great natural barrier against air pollution, and conifers have been particularly noted for their ability to protect against pollutants. Specifically, the western red cedar hedge is named as an ideal conifer to plant in your garden. But if your garden is a little smaller, the publication also names the yew as a great alternative, citing its evergreen nature and easy trimming.
Gerbera daisies to keep things bright
Just like the wallflower, gerbera daisies can bring so many colours into your garden and look great in a flower bed with some play bark. A recent study by NASA has provided a few colourful blooms for gardeners keen to clean the air. Gerbera daisies are bonny, beautiful blooms that come in many different colours; white, orange, red, pink — whichever you pick, they’ll give your garden a splash of colour. These flowers love direct sunlight and a bit of space, so make sure not to leave them in a shady corner of your garden. Plus, NASA states that these wonderful flowers are great for dealing with multiple air toxins, such as benzene.
There’s something quintessentially British about ivy crawling up the side of a house or tree. Though it has a bad reputation in the States as being a weed, it can be a lovely addition to your garden if tended to. The plant offers benefits for wildlife and for the air – Goldsmiths, University of London, states that the wide leaves of the common ivy traps particulates, which makes it a great choice for purifying the air.
Best air-cleaning practices
You’ll want to make sure your gardening techniques are green too. SmilingGardener offers five great ways to reduce pollution in ways beyond planting shrubs and flowers:
- Get composting. You can turn many waste products into compost to stop it going to the landfill.
- Stay away from gluten meal. SmilingGardener notes this meal is made up from genetically modified corn, so best to stay away from using it, if possible.
- Opting for quiet equipment. This one’s more for noise pollution, but it’s certainly an added bonus for the pollution-conscious gardener to take note of!
- Lower pesticide use. This one is probably a given, but if you can avoid using chemicals on your garden, please do.
- Look indoors as well as outdoors. As well as planting outdoor plants to combat air toxicity, consider bringing in some houseplants to cleanse the air in your home.