• 27 September 2022
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MOSS; A true fighter of Air pollution

MOSS; A true fighter of Air pollution

Air pollution is the addition of unwanted substances such as gases, dust, fumes, and other solid particles in the air that deteriorate the quality of air. Human actions and nature both can result in air pollution.  The human activities that result in air pollution include smoking, vehicular and industrial emissions, deforestation, and chemicals used in farming and household.

Greenhouse gases rise the temperatures and result in all the consequences of climate change including extreme weather, rising sea levels, increasing transmission of infectious diseases like Lyme, and heat-related deaths. Although air pollution and climate change may seem to be different concerns they are closely related. So the reduction in air pollution could help in mitigating climate change.

What are Mosses?

Mosses belong to bryophytes which is the oldest evolutionary land-plant group. Mosses require wet environments for active growth and have developed different lifestyles and biochemical strategies to cope with biotic and abiotic stress. Mosses are well suited because of their three distinguishing features;

  • No roots
  • Spores that made their cultivation easy
  • High surface-to-mass ratio

Peat mosses (Sphagnum spec.) are very beneficial for monitoring pollution and combating climate change as they possess the genes necessary to overcome biotic and abiotic stress conditions. Because of the one cell thickness of their leaves, mosses are able to detect air contaminants including heavy metals and sulphur and nitrogen oxides. By the absorption of air-borne contaminants, the leaves of mosses change their color to yellow which can then be analyzed for contaminants.

Advantages

One of the advantageous steps to using mosses as an environmentally friendly sensor is to limit air pollution as it plays a vital role to maintain water levels, preventing soil erosion, removing hazardous pollutants, filtering or screening out rainwater, and also seizing carbon-inducing removal of pollution. Mosses have a great ecological significance as it plays an immense role as bio-indicators for air pollution as well as for other pollutions in the environment.

Pollutants in the air like soot, sulfur oxides, and dirt can be cleaned out through the filtering mechanism of moss via absorbing carbon dioxide emitted from vehicles or other natural resources. The absorbing capacity of moss ranges from 0.1microns to 10 microns. Air quality can be improved by utilizing the bio-filtration mechanism of moss gardens as it absorbs toxic pollutants, converting them into carbon dioxide and water and then emitting it as clean air.

Mosses play a vital role in an ecosystem because they can encounter the removal of toxic or unpleasant substances such as heavy metals i.e., copper, mercury, lead, cadmium, and many more. These advantages will pass on benefits to land as dealing with poor drainage and undue rainfall. Moreover, mosses are also valuable in removing organic substances such as detergents and oil residues from the contaminated environment. Another benefit of using mosses is their functioning even in the absence of pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides. This feature highlights its environment-friendly existence and cost-effective choice of other sensors.

The eradication of pollutants from an environment cannot be achieved but their exposure to human survival can be minimized using filtered fuels or cleaning devices. One of the advantageous methods for removal of hazardous or toxic chemicals from an environment is to utilize a rapid, cost-effective, environment-friendly, and feasible bio-filtering mechanism of mosses because it is an effective source for detection and absorbance of carbon and sulfur oxides, air pollutants.

To limit air pollution, moss leaves are an efficient pollution sensor as their leaves are sensitive to pollution, and composed of a single cell layer that enables it to rapidly absorb any substance. Turning green color to yellowish leaves of moss indicates the presence of pollutants in the air. Mosses show a remarkable profit over traditional biosensors as there is no need for replacement after gas detection.

The German company has developed a series of active moss filters that could be installed in street furniture and on facades in urban areas. These imply the use of Internet technology to maintain and regulate the moss.  The output of the process in the form of real-time data appears on a dashboard along with the air quality and surrounding situation. Some mosses that are cultivated under optimized conditions are capable of storing and evaporating about 20 times more water than their weight. If mosses are used with an active ventilation system, they can help in reducing the atmospheric temperature up to 4 degrees.

Conclusion

Air pollution as an unseen murderer increases threats to human health and the environment. World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the poor quality of air causes cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses and leads to 7 million preventable deaths each year. As a result, poor air quality must be a national concern because most people are ignorant of the poison they are breathing. Millions of dollars are being spent on the development of cutting-edge technology to detect and minimize air pollution as a consequence of the threat that it now poses on a global scale. This is because air pollution has now turned into a global hazard. Till-date the ideal applicant is Mother Nature.

 

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