By Liliana Usvat
It’s time to talk seriously about using trees and other city-cooling ideas, such as reflective or cool roofs or green roofs.
It’s a fight against the phenomenon called the urban heat island. Cities become heat islands as they trap energy from the sun in asphalt, rooftops and buildings.
An extensive canopy of trees over streets, parking lots and driveways might kept ozone-cooking heat down just enough to avert those dangerous peaks. Plus, trees actually take pollutants out of the air.
It is helpful to remember 57 percent of the air pollution problem in USA, is attributable to motor vehicles. “Off-road vehicles, lawn and garden equipment” and “consumer products” account for another 20 percent.
Extremely effective pollution control measures needed
MIT recently released a study detailing 200,000 yearly air pollution deaths in the United States.
We learn, “The greatest number of emissions-related premature deaths came from road transportation, with 53,000 early deaths per year attributed to exhaust from the tailpipes of cars and trucks.”
Using some government/military jargon, these numbers show common “delivery systems” under the “command and control” of individual Americans.
Another identified “delivery system” of lethal chemical agents is the emissions stacks of coal fired power plants, “Pollution from electricity generation still accounted for 52,000 premature deaths annually.”
If we look closely at the total numbers, we see that 200,000 American deaths per annum equates to, 16667 deaths per month, or 547.945 deaths per day, or 22.831 American deaths per hour. (Be sure that many of those victims are children.)
These deaths are from intentionally caused toxic chemicals that are allowed to be put in the communal air.
Emissions from marine transportation hit California with its long coastline relatively hard, resulting in an estimated 3,500 early deaths.
California is the hardest-hit state. There are 21,000 early deaths there a year from emissions.
However, it’s the east coast city of Baltimore, Maryland that is the hardest-hit city. 130 out of every 100,000 residents will die each year as a result of air pollution.
It is possible that panting more forests to be a solution.
But planting them is not enough. These plantation should be nurtured by people taking care of them so a ownership of the land that is planted is also a good idea.
Let’s assume you have a hectare of land that you plant trees ( with government grands) and vegetation and the land you closely monitor. You think the trees planted will be cut for fire wood or for using it for paper production. I don’t think so.
Planting trees in California
1008 Olive trees were planted by volunteers in San Juan Bautista.
Trees are planted on the side roads.
Smog in China
Smog all but shut down one of northeastern China’s largest cities Harbin the gritty capital of northeastern Heilongjiang province and home to some 11 million people, on Oct 21 2013, forcing schools to suspended classes, snarling traffic and closing the airport, in the country’s first major air pollution crisis of the winter.
An index measuring PM2.5, or particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5), reached a reading of 1,000 in some parts.
China now accounts for 47 percent of global coal consumption, almost equal to all other countries in the world combined. Coal consumption in China grew by more than 9 percent in 2011, or 325 million tons, which equaled 87 percent of the total global rise in coal use.
Wat are their solutions for smog
One week prior Beijing city released a color-coded alert system for handling air pollution emergencies, to include
- the temporary halt of construction,
- factory production,
- outdoor barbeques and
- the setting off of fireworks.
- temporarily shutting down more than 100 factories
- ordering one-third of government vehicles off the streets,
Tree Planting in China
China spend 60 billion yuan (8.77 billion US dollars) annually on its greening, or tree-planting, campaigns in an effort to have 20 percent of the country’s land covered by forests by 2010.
To improve the city’s air quality, Beijing is estimated to plant millions of trees and take up an expanded area of 1 million mu (66,667 hectares) by the end of 2014.
Every spring, clouds of “yellow dust” move southward from the Gobi Desert — the mass that straddles Mongolia and northern China — and sweep the Korean peninsula and other parts of the Pacific.
Korean and Chinese volunteers are helping plant some 4 million trees in China’s Gobi Desert, and the government says it’s making an effort to ensure trees are placed in the right zones.
Forests in China covered 20.36 percent of its land territory as of the end of 2012, up from 16.55 percent in 1998, Zhao Shucong, head of the State Forestry Administration, said at a tree planting ceremony marking the first International Day of Forests.
The 67th Session of the UN General Assembly passed a resolution in December 2012 declaring Mach 21 as International Day of Forests, in an effort to enhance the public’s understanding of the importance of forests and to improve the global movement of tree planting.
China’s forestry authority plans to reclaim large areas of land over the next decade under a national desert-control plan.
“Land desertification is the most important ecological problem in China. It causes erosion to the available space for people’s existence and development, provokes natural disasters like sandstorms, and endangers agricultural production by degrading the land,” Zhang Yongli, deputy director of the State Forestry Administration.
The national plan for preventing and controlling desertification was published by seven government departments, including the State Forestry Administration, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Agriculture.
According to statistics released on the website of the Ministry of Land and Resources, China is one of the most serious desertification zones in the world, with 2.62 million square kilometers of land, or 27.4 percent of the country’s area desertified, ( compared with 20.36% covered by forests), affecting almost 400 million people.
The plan, however, sets the goal of recovering more than 50 percent of reclaimable desertified land by 2020.
In two upland areas of Yunnan Province in Southwest China, the results substantiate the influence of land endowments, labor availability and forest policies are switching from cropland to tree planting.
State forest policies have constituted the main underlying driver to the forest transition in the past, but private afforestation activities increasingly dominate the expansion of tree cover.
Farmers plant trees on private incentives mainly to cash in on the improved economic opportunities provided by tree crops, but tree planting also constitutes an important strategy to adjust to growing labor scarcities.
So my comment is that planned forestation government funded is important.
Korean Air headed for the Kubuqi desert in China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region in October 2012 to carry out large-scale forestation.
Korean Air announced that it will plant 80,000 trees annually on 240,000 square meters of land in the Kubuqi desert during the next five years.
This year is the sixth consecutive year Korean Air is planting trees in the desert and signals the beginning of a second round of a program aimed at improving the environment of the area to curb further desertification.
- Spring activities on the Farm (caroolafarm.com.au)
- Heavy Smog Shuts Down Schools in Northern China (businessweek.com)
- China’s Smog Is Sticking Around (world.time.com)
- Chinese ‘airpocalypse’ comparable to conditions in severe California forest fire (rawstory.com)
- Did you know about the Toronto Tree Planting Program? (thompsonsellsblog.com)
- Airports, schools closed as thick smog blankets Chinese city of Harbin (cnn.com)
- Replanting the answer to deforestation (thestandard.co.zw)
- Tears flow at Westgate memorial (nation.co.ke)
- The smog in this giant Chinese city is so bad, it shut everything down (pbs.org)
- Kids Get ‘Smog Day’ As Pollution Shuts Down Chinese City (world.time.com)