Flower power ‘saving lives from pollution’

The natural environment and its plants are helping to tackle pollution, improve health and save money. That’s according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

The natural environment and its plants are helping to tackle pollution, improve health and save money.

That’s according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which suggests the planet itself is playing a vital role in fighting the pollution caused by carbon-intensive transport and power generation.

The ONS estimates around £1 billion in health costs was saved in the UK during 2015, thanks to plants removing pollution from the air rather than it being absorbed in people’s lungs.

It says the damage avoided can be broken down into 5,800 and 1,300 fewer hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiovascular problems respectively.

This resulted in 27,000 fewer life years lost and 1,900 less premature deaths than would have otherwise been expected.

Emily Connor, Economist at the ONS said: “The findings remind us of the vital importance that trees and plants play, not just in providing an attractive environment that contributes to our wellbeing but also in their very practical and economically significant health benefits, especially in urban areas.”