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Environmental Health Roundup

March 19, 2010

Despite looking green and attractive, many parks may actually create more pollution than they prevent.


Are green spaces really green? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Parks with large spreads of lawn look nice, but research at UC Irvine suggests that they actually create pollution. That’s because even though the growing grass captures carbon dioxide and produces oxygen, the large amounts of fertilizer used to maintain the lawn produces nitrous oxide—a potent greenhouse gas. Add to that all of the gasoline used by lawn mowers and leaf blowers, and you’ve got a park that pollutes. Low maintenance, natural park settings avoid these problems.

In other news, scientists report in the journal Current Protocols in Microbiology that seeds of the Moringa tree can be used to purify water. The trees are grown widely in tropical regions, providing food and cooking oil. Researchers say the seeds can kill over 90% of the bacteria in untreated water, and could help control life-threatening diseases. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.