The Taj Mahal’s Air Pollution Solution
We’re all aware that air pollution poses health risks, but few of us realize what a global threat air pollution actually is. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is now considered the world’s largest environmental health risk.1
In India, air pollution around the Taj Mahal had gotten so bad, the government decided to plant vegetation based on emerging science that plants combat air pollution. Tulsi (Occinum sanctum) was chosen for its anti-pollutant and anti-oxidant properties. They started by planting 80,000 tulsi plants around the temple with plans to plant 10,000 more around each school in the temple city of Agra.2
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In this article, I discuss the need for more vegetation in urban and rural areas to fight off air pollution health risks. Before I discuss some of the benefits of air pollution-fighting plants, let’s assess the damage.
Effects of Air Pollution
- In 2012, air pollution was responsible for nearly seven million deaths, representing more than 10% of all-cause deaths and more than doubling previous estimates.3
- Air pollution accounts worldwide for an estimated 9% of deaths due to lung cancer, 17% due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, more than 30% due to ischemic heart disease and stroke, and 9% due to respiratory infections.3
- The 2012 Global Burden of Disease report identified that air pollution was among the leading risk factors for disease burden, being globally responsible for 3.1% of all Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs).
- Environmental air pollutants increase risk of infertility in women.5
- Up to 42% of asthma cases are attributable to traffic-related air pollution.6
What Can be Done about Air Pollution?
In a recent study published in American Chemical Society, it was found that restoring plant life on unused land in counties across America could reduce air pollution levels by a whopping 27%.4 This would be a far more economical solution than many of the technological fixes being proposed.
The study went on to conclude that in rural areas, about 19% of the population would benefit from plant-based restoration, compared with 74% in urban areas.4
Benefits of Tulsi Holy Basil7
The Taj Mahal is capitalizing on the effects of having tulsi plants in our environment, but they can also do wonders when taken internally!
- There is mounting evidence that tulsi can address physical, metabolic, and psychological stress through a unique combination of constituent actions.
- Tulsi has been found to protect organs and tissues from oxidative stress due to industrial pollutants and heavy metals, as well as physical stress from physical exertion and exposure to environmental stressors.
- Tulsi has been shown to support healthy blood sugar, blood pressure, and lipid levels while under stress.
- Tulsi has been found to counter psychological stress through positive effects on mood, memory, and cognitive function.
Protect yourself as much as possible from air pollution by surrounding yourself with plant friends (particularly tulsi!), inside and out.