The UK’s first Air Pollution Garden has been established at Sheffield Botanical Gardens through a collaboration between the three White Rose universities of Leeds, York and Sheffield.
An Air Pollution Garden contains plants that are particularly sensitive to damage by pollutants in the air. These plants can help us identify regions that experience high concentrations of dangerous pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and ozone (O3).
Despite efforts to improve air quality over the past few decades, air pollution levels in the UK remain high enough to have significant impacts on the natural environment and our health. Check the latest air quality measurements from Sheffield City Centre here.
Children from the Porter Croft Primary School, as well as some home-educated students, helped to create the garden and learned about the importance of good air quality for their health.
The garden will visually demonstrate the effects of pollution on plants with discolouring of the leaves. So far, snap beans and clover have been planted alongside lettuce and wheat, and cutleaf coneflower and common milkweed will be added in a few months.
Being exposed to poor air quality can cause lung and heart problems. On days when ground levels of ozone and nitrogen dioxide are high, people can experience lung irritation, while those with existing diseases such as asthma, may experience more severe symptoms.
Worldwide it is estimated that exposure to poor air quality causes around 3.7 million premature deaths per year, including 29,000 deaths across the UK.
The UK’s first Air Pollution Garden has been established by the University of Sheffield, the University of York and the University of Leeds, together with the Air Aware team at Sheffield City Council.
The project has been funded by the White Rose Collaboration Fund.