Orthotrichum lyelli

by Rainertaycho on November 9, 2017 - 1:44pm

A team of researchers discovered incredolous amounts of cadium and arsenic in the air of the hotspots of Portland, which can prove hazardous to human health such as development of anomalies in children and cancer. During the investigations of these hotspots, the same team of researchers found an unlikely indicator of highly polluted air: the moss named Orthotrichum lyelli, which is not only cheaper than the current method they are using, but also much much more economical. Although scientists have been using moss as an indicator of forest pollution, this is the first time that it will be used to pinpoint air pollution in a city.

Governments usually put up air monitors to build models of what healthy air looks like. People tend to dismiss air pollution and underestimate its effects, same with researchers who stated:

"That was telling us that we had underestimated and we didn't fully know or understand the sources of these metals [...]"

One of the advantages of using moss as an indicator for air pollution in the city is that it can pinpoint its exact location, and since moss' do not have roots and directly take nutrients from the air, it is easy to accurately identify the type of air and chemicals surrounding the area by examining it.

"Widespread moss monitoring could increase the accurate detection of pollutant concentrations and encourage more effective air regulations."

Another advantage to moss is that it costs way less than the air monitors that governments tend to use.

"The Forest Service loaboratory work and moss analysis costs $35 per sample [on the other hand] DEQ air monitors cost up to $150,000 per year to operate"

Ever since the discovery of this indicator, Portland citizens have been more active and interested in gathering information and collecting data about the state of the city's air. Hopefully, people start becoming more active in monitoring the world's air condition soon too.

 

Work Cited:

https://theplanetmagazine.net/unnoticed-indicator-e0088fe76169