AIRFRESH: Air pollution removal by urban forests for a better human well-being


Main expected results by end of 2024

Environmental benefits - Each reforested area (1-ha) will remove annually at least 3.0 tons O3, 2.5t NO2, 1.5t PM10, 0.8t PM2.5, 10t CO2, ambient air 2°C cooler compared to surrounding area and increase carbon stocks (2t per ha). End of 2024, 1000 trees will be planted i.e. an increase of 2.5% of public trees and of 0.5% of green areas, and a 10% increase in the Singapore Index in both cities. The city planners of at least 10 EU cities will implement AIRFRESH recommendations and best practices beyond 2024.

Socio-economic benefits - With the above air pollution reduction, 3 premature deaths and 12 hospital admissions for respiratory and cardio-vascular diseases will be “avoided” annually and 150 working days gained after reforestation. We thus expect a minimum benefit for healthcare of €9.1 million each year from 2024. Each new reforested area will prevent damages valued at €173,000 per year due to the quantity of O3, NO2, PM and CO2 removed.

Citizens’ awareness - AIRFRESH will improve health of citizens in an indirect way e.g. due to active communication by displaying “good practices” board in doctor’s waiting rooms to reduce air pollution effects on health (ab. 240,000 people reached). This number will be much amplified when results of the project are diffused through the notice boards in both tests areas, media, social networks, and public events such as tree planting ceremony.

Policy benefits – AIRFRESH contributes to implementation, updating and development of local Climate and Air Quality Plan, EU environmental policy e.g. Urban Agenda for the EU, EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy and European Smart City initiatives.