How Plants Improve the Air we Breathe

June 17, 2021 Tom Luck

“Every year, air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK.  The World Health Organisation and the UK Government recognise that air pollution is the largest environmental health risk we face today. Poor air quality causes heart and lung diseases, is linked to low birth weight and children’s lung development and may even contribute to mental health issues.” —www.cleanairday.org.uk 

Plants truly are wonderful. Aside from the obvious natural beauty, plants have a massive impact on our mental health and act as round-the-clock filters to clean the air we breathe. But how exactly do plants improve air quality and, by extension, our health?

Plants Will Eat Pollution for Breakfast

Plants absorb high levels of nasty pollutants which they then turn into food to help them grow. Within 24 hours plants will absorb high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—airborne toxins released from everyday plastics, carpets and furnishings. Even on imperceptible levels, air pollution causes illness, as well as symptoms of headache, sore eyes, nose and throat, or nausea. 

Not-so-fun fact: levels of carbon dioxide and VOCs are usually higher indoors than outside—even in city centres! 

Fortunately plants have no saturation point: The more toxins there are, the faster the plants absorb them. Some plants even work overtime as they continue to absorb VOCs and carbon dioxide at night, all the while producing fresh oxygen. 

Plants Recycle Carbon Dioxide for Cleaner, Healthier Air

Plants produce fresh oxygen by absorbing carbon dioxide via photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide, produced from our breathing, is a well known cause of drowsiness and concentration loss. Fresher air improves our health and increases our productivity.

Leaves Trap Dust

Leaves trap airborne dust particles and absorb the toxins they carry. This removal can improve the humidity of an urban space and reduce respiratory problems for its occupants. The particles are not released back into the air, but are instead washed off harmlessly in the rain. 

According to Public Health England, 36,000 deaths each year in the UK are attributed to long-term exposure to air pollution. With towns and cities worldwide becoming ever more densely populated—and therefore polluted—the need for green spaces has never been greater.

How PlantBox Helps

We understand that traditional planting isn’t always practical. That’s where PlantBox comes in: The stackable, eco-friendly vertical garden that packs large amounts of plants into even the smallest of spaces. Made from 100% recycled materials, PlantBox is designed to best fit your home and is ideal for balconies, roof gardens, courtyards, conservatories and is even suitable indoors. Go weeks between watering, know when to top up and exactly how much. £1 from every PlantBox goes to the PlantBox Trust, a charity which provides access to nature where it is needed. Join the growing revolution for a greener future! Find out more.

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PlantBox was featured in the Guangzou Eco City Garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show - winner of Best in Show 2021!