Now leaves can indicate levels of air pollution
There have been several high end pollution measuring devices in the past, but the simplest and the cheapest way of measuring the level of pollution on the streets has been found only recently. Geophysicist Bernie Housen and colleague Luigi Jovane, with their recent study have founded that the level of magnetism of tree leaves could be a powerful tool to monitor the air quality of streets. Their research has shown that leaves along bus routes were up to ten times more magnetic than leaves on quieter streets. So that means higher the amount of magnetism on leaves, higher the level of pollution on the street. The magnetism comes from tiny particles of pollution, such as iron oxides from diesel exhaust, that float through the air and either stick to the leaves, or grow right into them. The inhalation of these matters could lead to several health problems. Personally, I feel this is a very low-cost and powerful tool and an effective way to measure the load of particulate matter in the air for planning cities, biking routes or walking paths. The results of the study by Housen and Jovane from Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA, USA, will be presented at this month’s Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America in Portland, Oregon.