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Cleaning cities with mosses

Moss as a medium to clean air form traffic pollution.

Photo of Ewa Bilska
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Besides of it’s beauty mosses are also eco-friendly. Jan-Peter Frahm and Marko Sabovljević, scientists from University in Bonn, discovered that  mosses are perfect plants to clean air from traffic pollution. Inorganic components of exhaust fumes are used by bryophytes (mosses) as nutrition while organic one’s are regain by bacteria living  on mosses. Bryophytes are really efficient as filters because their great surface. There are approximately 5 million small leaves in one square meter of moss.

By creating moss lawns instead of grass lawns, we could do a great favor to our environment. Mosses require no chemicals typically used to maintain grass such as fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. So we could avoid contamination of groundwater. There is also a positive impact of eliminating the need for mowing. It is said that one hour of mowing with gas-powered mower is equal to 43 hours of driving in an inefficient vehicle.

Furthermore the fact that mosses have no cuticle and absorb water quickly means that they offer water filtration solutions for controlling storm water. Mosses absorb water through their leaves slowing the flow and allowing rain to reach the groundwater table gradually.

There are also a lot of benefits in using bryophytes as green roof plants. They have no roots so the required soil depth is significantly reduced. Because weight load is reduced (or almost eliminated) it will be easier and cheaper to construct green roofs.

Bryophytes could be also a great medium to create art. Here is an instruction how to create beautiful green graffiti:

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