In order to ease environmental problems such as air pollution, British scientists at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) have been researching and comparing the effectiveness of different types of shrubs when it comes to soaking up pollution.
What they have discovered is that bushy, hairy-leafed cotoneaster is actually a “super-plant” that works extremely well at soaking up pollution on busy roads. In fact, the cotoneaster franchetii as it’s known scientifically is at least 20 percent more effective at soaking up pollution compared with other shrubs, the researchers said, though it did not make a difference on quieter streets.
“On major city roads with heavy traffic, we’ve found that the species with more complex, denser canopies and rough and hairy leaves such as cotoneaster were the most effective,” said Dr. Tijana Blanusa, lead researcher. “We know that in just seven days a 1-meter length of the well-managed dense hedge will mop up the same amount of pollution that a car emits over a 500-mile drive.”
As the UK seeks to drastically cut down on air pollution, this research could be pivotal in driving subtle changes in urban planning that could make a big difference in the long term.