With summer in full swing, there’s never been a better time to escape to the country, even if only for a few days. Country air is generally healthier than city air, being free from the levels of pollution caused by heavy traffic and industrial machinery.
Differences between country and city air can be made in terms of urban density, as well as through the general need to find ways around CO2 levels. The countryside provides some options, either as single trips or longer migrations from cities and towns.
Although the countryside isn’t without its own air pollution, a healthier lifestyle can still be enjoyed away from the crush of the city.
1 – Country vs City
Country air is generally cleaner than the city, which is partly due to the ability for plant life and woodlands to absorb carbon dioxide. Ozone levels and particular pollution, which is measured in terms of particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns, is also used to observe differences. For example, Los Angeles is the most polluted city in the United States, while the more rural Honolulu is amongst the least polluted cities in the world.
2 – CO2 Levels Peaking
CO2 levels reached a new high of 394.97ppm in 2011, an increase of 1.6ppm since 2010. These are the highest carbon dioxide levels in recorded history. Scientists argue that anything above 400 ppm of CO2 a year will cause even greater climate damage.
3 – Fresh Air Tours
In China, which has some of the most heavily polluted cities in the world, fresh air tours are provided to the country for stressed urbanites. Yangshuo is a particularly popular destination.
4 – Canning Smells
The appeal of the country is so strong for some people that they are willing to invest in Countryside Air to Go, a bottled selection of country smells that features methane gas from cows.
5 – Living Longer
A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs survey in 2011 reported that those living in the UK countryside have a longer life expectancy, a lower infant mortality rate, and a lower risk of disease than those in the city.
6 – Ozone Concentrations
Levels of ozone in the atmosphere, which in high amounts can cause problems with pressure and breathing, tend to be found in elevated areas, making it one of the atmospheric dangers of country air in rural locations.
7 – Boosting Health
A US patents study has reported that those suffering from stress and disease experience a faster recovery in the open air of the country, and also have more incentive to lose weight through outdoor exercise.
8 – Hedgerows
The planting of hedgerows in the countryside represents a useful way to improve the quality of air by absorbing carbon dioxide. Hedgerows also restrict soil erosion and pollution, and provide a barrier to fertilizers and pesticides.
9 – Valleys
Pollutants can build up in the atmosphere of low lying valleys, as currents of air can get trapped at low levels.
10 – Some Key Sources of Air Pollution
Some of the threats to air quality in rural area derive from natural sources like ammonia from pig and poultry farming, microbial soil minerals, and ozone at high altitude. Country air quality does, however, generally lack the heavy metals, and halogens that make up the atmosphere of cities.
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