How do Plants Clean the Air?

We’ve heard on numerous occasions through a dozen different platforms and in various ways, that we should have plants in our offices and homes because they filter out the bad air so that we can breathe more easily. You’d be forgiven for being sceptical since it’s not something you can physically see and the benefits are not so obvious that you walk around the office like Mary Poppins. 

So how exactly does nature work her magic? Well first things first, it’s not only through the leaves but also the roots that plants remove toxins. Starting at the root of it all, studies of plants show that they create their own micro ecosystem. The soil area around the roots, known as the “Rhizosphere”, is full of biological activity and it is these microbes or bacteria that biodegrade the pollutants into food for themselves and the plant. 

So how do we get the toxins to the Rhizosphere? That’s where the leaves play their very important role. In the same way as plants photosynthesize using a process called translocation, they absorb the toxins in through their leaves and move them down towards the root system so they can be released and broken down. Voila!

Albeit a very simplified explanation of a very complex process, it sums up the basics and give us all some food for thought!