Written by Prakriti Panwar, a grade 11 student
Recently, scientists at the Royal Horticultural Society (A leading gardening charity in the UK) identified cotoneaster, a thick and bushy shrub as a ‘super plant’ that absorbs roadside pollution.
Cotoneaster Franchetii ( the super plant) was found to be 20 percent more effective than other shrubs with reference to absorbing pollution from busier roads. In fact, within just a week, the super plant was able to absorb the same amount of pollution a car would emit while covering a 500-mile journey. However, there was no major difference in absorption between other shrubs and cotoneaster on quiet roads.
According to Dr. Tijana Blanusa, the lead researcher, cotoneaster would be apt to plant in pollution ‘ hot spots,’ but for other areas, a mix of species and nature would be ideal and enough to keep the pollution in check.
The research was based on a survey by YouGov ( an internet-based market research and data analytics firm). According to it, 86 percent of the people said ‘they cared about environmental issues and 78 percent claimed that they worry about climate change. These results motivated RHS to ‘harness that interest to encourage people to think about helping the environment in their garden,’ and so they did.
In addition to cotoneaster, RHS is also researching other beneficial plants such as hawthorn and privet- both of which help in reducing summer rainfall and flooding. Professor Alistair Griffith, the Director of Science and Collection at RHS said that “we are working on multiple new projects that will unlock the true potential of gardens and garden plants. We hope to harness the power of the UK’s 30 million gardeners to help turbocharge the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss.”
The discovery of this ‘super plant’ has initiated a unique trend of using relevant natural resources, that have proven to be effective, to contribute towards the effects of climate change, beginning right at home- a crucial step towards keeping the effects of discharge of something, especially gas or radiation in check.
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