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Use of lichens as bio indicators for air quality

by Lorena Monteiro de Souza Gomes

Environmental Science
Tutor: Dr. Debbie Bartlett
University of Greenwich
Faculty of Engineering and Science

28th August 2014

Contents
INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................. 3
CHAPTER 1

Air Pollution ........................................................................................................... 3

CHAPTER 2

Legislation and Monitoring ................................................................................... 6

2.1

Brazilian legislation and air quality levels: .................................................................... 7

2.2

United Kingdom legislation and air quality levels: ........................................................ 7

CHAPTER 3

Lichens ................................................................................................................. 10

CHAPTER 4

Methods .............................................................................................................. 13

CHAPTER 5

Results ................................................................................................................. 15

CHAPTER 6

Discussion ............................................................................................................ 18

CHAPTER 7

Conclusion ........................................................................................................... 19

REFERENCES ................................................................................................................................ 19

INTRODUCTION
The quality of the air is a global concern since air pollution has only increased
along with progress. Not only the industries but also the population growth brings dayby-day higher levels of emission of pollutants. The levels of pollution are so high that it
is seen in almost every country a big amount of people dying every year for respiratory
problems.
Being as air pollution such a big concern nowadays, it is essential the air
monitoring to try and keep the quality of the air we breathe as better as possible. To help
with this monitoring, it is available a simple and efficient method which is the biological
indicators methodology.
Biological indicators for air monitoring are usually plants, and according to Camiz
et al (2008), that is because their development and their general state depends largely
on the continuous interaction with the environment, thus with pollutants (p. 112). So it
is possible to see the presence or not of pollutants according to the presence or not of
some species of plants, and also according to the changes observed in the plant itself.
A most common plant used as bioindicators is lichens. And, as said by Falla et al
(1999) that occurs because the absence of cuticle facilitates the air elements absorption
and the intracellular spaces in the medulla trap the particulate pollutants such as heavy
metals and others (p. 631).
The use of bioindicators is an additional method to the traditional monitoring
methods which are for example in the UK the use of Automatic Urban and Rural Network,
which uses different measurement techniques to each pollutant (DEFRA, 2012), bringing
different research results to help in the monitoring of air pollution to try and guarantee its
quality.

CHAPTER 1

Air Pollution

The growth of population and urban traffic has increased for the past years with
the result that there has been a deterioration of air quality (Rodrigues, 2013). Air pollution
is a well-known problem all over the world and the maintenance of the quality of the air
we breathe is not only important for our health but also important to avoid negative
impacts for the economy, environment, climate and architecture of a country.
As said by Hare et al (1999, p. 4), in the late 18th century, the Industrial
Revolution, beginning in the UK, led to escalation in pollutant emissions based around
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the use of coal by both homes and industry. Pollutant emissions continued to grow
through the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the dramatic smog episodes known as
peasoupers became common place in many of Britains inner cities. Pollution is a
growing and constant problem, not only caused by industries but also by population, and
so it can be reduced by not only government measures but also citizen daily acts.
The common sources of pollutants are industries and traffic emissions, throwing
gases into the atmosphere. This gases thrown in the air can suffer reactions, generating
other gases and as an example there is ozone (O3) generated by photochemical reactions
caused by sunlight with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) (DEFRA, 2011). The main air pollutant
gases are oxides of nitrogen (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone
(O3) and particulate matter (PM). And their most common sources are:
-

NOx: natural sources like volcanic activity, and anthropogenic source such
as fossil fuel combustion.

SO2: fossil fuel combustion.

CO: automobiles.

O3: natural source (sunlight).

PM: anthropogenic sources such as industries, roads, houses and


constructions.

The emission of carbon dioxide and sulphur into the atmosphere causes acid rain,
damaging the architecture and heritage buildings. Air pollution can damage materials,
especially those used in buildings because of their long life (Rabl, 1999, p. 362). As
consequence, there are the economic factors since it is necessary to spend a considerable
amount of money to try and fix the damage caused by acid rain especially in the heritage
buildings which are expensive to maintain and sensitive to air pollution. An example of
how pollution can and will affect important historic places can be seeing at Taj Mahal.
The monument in India received millions of pounds as investment in protection of the
building and cars are banned from 500 metres of the place, trying to avoid deterioration
by pollution. The monument started getting yellow, and the quantity of money spent
trying to recover and maintain the original colour is enormous (Burke, 2010). Another
historic place threatened by pollution is the Acropolis of Athens, in Greece. According to
the UNESCO, after a century of excavations and improvements of the site, the Acropolis
is now a testing ground for the most innovative open-air conservation techniques aimed
at safeguarding the marble sections, which have been affected by heavy atmospheric
pollution.
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So it is wise and cheaper to invest in preventive and conservative measures so it


wont be necessary to spend huge amounts of money recovering deteriorated sites. It is
also important to work with citizen education, so people can know how pollution affects
our lives and learn how to do something to reduce gases emissions.
According to Brugha & Grigg (2014, p. 194), in Europe, 80% of the population
live in areas where PM (particulate matter) levels exceed World Health Organisation
(WHO) air quality guidelines, and the life expectancy of Europeans is decreased, on
average, by almost 9 months due to PM". Besides the decrease in life expectancy there
are also the increase in the number of people with respiratory diseases and a large number
of premature deaths also because of respiratory issues. So pollution is clearly a real and
dangerous problem, having impacts in our lives as much as in the economy and
architecture of the world especially megacities like London, So Paulo, China, etc.
Besides all the already explained impacts of the air pollution, we also have climate
change. Over the last 100 years, Earths temperature increased in 0.8C, and over the last
30 it has increased by 0.6C (Gutro, 2006), and it occurred partly because of human
pollution of industries and houses, for food, energy, transportation. So the increase in the
emission of greenhouse gases can cause the increase in Earths surface temperature.
Predictions for future climate changes shows that the temperature will keep increasing;
as Buchdahl (1999, p. 49) said, the most recent models estimate that global average
surface temperature will rise by between 1.4 and 5.8C over the next hundred years, with
a best guess of about 3C. But since the pollutant emissions can increase or decrease
within time, this estimation of future temperature can change as well. If the world manage
to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases it is possible that Earths temperature do not
rise that much.
Even though the air pollution has been for years a worldwide concern, it is still a
problem without solution. It is necessary to convince each country to reduce their
emissions of pollutants, as much as make population understand that this is also their
concern and can be changed with their help.
It is also necessary to impose government measures to incentive the population to
help reduce the gas emissions. An example of one of this government measures can be
seeing in the case in Paris, when the authorities offered free public transport during a
weekend to reduce the smog (BBC news, 2014). There are as well attempts to reduce the
pollution that doesnt work as it should, like separating cars into days - so cars with plates
ending in even numbers can be on the roads in a day, and cars with odd numbers are
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allowed in the other day, trying to reduce the amount of cars in the streets -, but people
have been buying cheaper cars so they can have a car with odd and another with even
numbers on the plate (Mathiesen, 2014). So instead of reducing the amount of cars, this
measure is actually increasing it.
So the real issue is to make the population aware of the negative impacts of what
they do, and specially invest in environmental education besides of encouraging the
citizens to use cleaner cars, with better filters and emitting less pollutants into the
atmosphere. Human health is supposed to be a priority concern to government all around
the world, and so should be the air pollution since it interferes highly in the life of the
population.

CHAPTER 2

Legislation and Monitoring

With the intention of better control, prevent and reduce the amount of pollutants
present in the atmosphere it is necessary to stick to the legislation. In order to protect
human health and the environment as a whole, it is particularly important to combat
emissions of pollutants at source and to identify and implement the most effective emission
reduction measures at local, national and Community level (DIRECTIVE 2008/50/EC,
L152/1).
In the United Kingdom when it comes to air quality standards they follow the
European Union legislation which stablishes limit values for air pollutant concentrations
through EU Directives (DEFRA, 2014). Action to manage and improve air quality is
largely driven by European (EU) legislation. The 2008 ambient air quality directive
(2008/50/EC) sets legally binding limits for concentrations in outdoor air of major air
pollutants that impact public health such as particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) and
nitrogen dioxide (NO2) (DEFRA, 2011). The Brazilian legislation though has its own
directives and about air quality standards they follow the CONAMA resolution from 1990
which limits the levels of pollutants acceptable for preserving the quality of the air
(Ministrio do Meio Ambiente, 2014).
Both Brazil and United Kingdom are countries on the right path for trying to
minimize as much as possible the damage caused by air pollution and with all the up to
date legislation, with directives, regulations and resolutions about air quality it is possible
to improve the quality of the air, reducing the risks to human health among other positive

outcomes from the decrease of air pollutants. It will be summarized below the legislation
and standard levels for air quality in each country.

2.1

Brazilian legislation and air quality levels:


The standards of air quality as stated by the World Health Organization on

publication in 2005, vary according to the approach taken to balance health risks,
technical viability, economic and other social and political factors, which depends on,
among other things, the level of national development and capacity to manage air quality
(free translation; Ministrio do Meio Ambiente, 2014).
As said before, the Brazilian standards for air quality is stated by the CONAMA
resolution (n3/1990). Which divides the standards between primary and secondary. The
primary standards of air quality are those pollutant concentrations which, when exceeded,
might affect the health of the population. They can be understood as maximum tolerable
levels of atmospheric pollutants concentration, being targets for short and medium terms.
The secondary standards of air quality are the concentration of pollutants below which
causes the minimum adverse effects on the welfare of the population, as well as minimum
damage to fauna and flora, materials and environment in general. Can be understood as
desired concentration of pollutants, constituting a long-term target levels (free translation;
Ministrio do Meio Ambiente, 2014).
All the necessary specifications about levels of air quality can be found on the
Conama Resolution n3 from 1990, which explains in details the air quality standards for
the country, the sampling methodology and the responsibility of each state of the country
for its own air monitoring.

2.2

United Kingdom legislation and air quality levels:


Air pollution in the UK is estimated to have an effect equivalent to 29,000 deaths

each year and is expected to reduce the life expectancy of everyone in the UK by 6 months
on average, at a cost of around 16 billion per year. And the actions taken to improve
air quality are by controlling the emissions of harmful pollutants and the concentrations
of harmful pollutants in the environment (DEFRA, 2014).
According to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (web, 2014)
local authorities are responsible for reviewing and assessing air quality, to check they
meet national air quality objectives. If they are falling short, they must declare an Air
Quality Management Area and produce an action plan showing what they are going to
do to meet standards. They support to local authorities by providing advice and

guidance, and the local air quality management if reviewed to make sure they attend the
EU obligations.
As said before, the United Kingdom follows the European legislation on air
quality, so the limit values present on the table above are the ones used on the UK.
The air monitoring in the UK comes from a long way. Primarily in response to
the serious urban smogs of the 1950 and 60s black smoke and sulphur dioxide have been
monitored on a national scale in the UK since 1961 (Netcen, 2003). The air monitoring
process has been growing since.
Besides all the network and monitoring sites, and important source of data for air
quality monitoring is citizen participation. An example is the OPAL Air Survey. The
Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) network is a UK-wide citizen science initiative that allows
you to get hands-on with nature, whatever your age, background or level of ability
(OPAL website). They are an initiative to get people involved with their environment,
bringing scientists and public closer, exploring environmental issues which have both
local and global relevance.
People can help collecting data by making one of OPAL Surveys and uploading
results on their website creating a big network of air pollution data, and also helping to
maps of pollutants occurrence.

Table 1 - Brazilian standard for air quality (free translation; CONAMA n3, 1990)

Table 2 - European limit values (The Secretary of the State, 2010)

CHAPTER 3

Lichens

Lichens are the result of a process known as symbiosis, where two or more
organisms live together. In this case, the organisms living together are a fungus and a
photosynthetic organism an alga or cyanobacteria (Kaffer et al, 2011). In this mutual
relationship, the alga is responsible for giving food while the fungus part is to give them
protection.
The absence of a cuticle facilitates the air elements absorption and the
intracellular spaces in the medulla trap the particulate pollutants such as heavy metals
and others (Falla et al, p. 631, 1999). In this manners, the importance of the use of lichens
as biological indicators is that they have the ability of absorbing atmospheric compounds,
and so they are affected by the pollutants present in the atmosphere composition.
Nitrogen is both an essential nutrient and/or a toxic substance according to the
type and quantity of the compound deposited and the requirement of each species
(Wolseley et al, p. 75, 2004). Therefore, each species of fungus respond differently to
pollution, so it is possible to find groups of lichens resistant to pollution in urban and
industrial areas and at the same time notice groups of lichens disappearing from certain
areas because of the high levels of toxic gases.
Lichens are widely used as indicators of air quality (Hawksworth et al., 2005),
and are able to react to the effects of aerial emissions both at a cellular and at a
population and/or community level (Purvis et al.,2007) (Kaffer et al, p. 1319, 2011). By
this means, the use of lichens as bioindicators can be given in two different approaches:
qualitative and quantitative methods (Falla et al, 1999). The mean objective of using
lichen as bioindicator is to notice which species are gone and which ones are still present
at the site of study. It is possible to find areas where the quality of the air is good based
on the presence of very sensitive species of lichens, which would not survive in an
environment with high levels of pollutants, and areas with poor air quality based on the
presence of tolerant species of lichens (Sutton et al, 2004).
Below will be presented a guide to lichens species divided into nitrogen sensitive,
intermediate and nitrogen loving base on the OPAL (Open Air Laboratories) Lichen
Guide, which provides species of lichens that have been recorded in the OPAL Air
Survey.

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1. Nitrogen sensitive:
-

Usnea

Very sensitive to air pollution and so is normally only


found growing in clean air environments. Some species of Usnea
are more sensitive to air pollutants than others. Generally grows
hanging from tree branches; thread like, resembling a grey beard.
Figure 1- Usnea (OPAL Lichen Guide)

Evernia

Bushy lichen sensitive to air pollution, usually found


in clean air environments. It is abundant on branches and
twigs of trees and shrubs in the countryside. Green on top and
white on the bottom; divides evenly into 'forks'; not to be
confused with Ramalina, which is green on both top and
bottom and divides unevenly.

Figure 2 - Evernia (OPAL Lichen Guide)

Hypogmnia

Very sensitive to nitrogen pollution in the air so is


rarely found close to roads in big cities. There are two species
found on trees in England. Lobes are evenly green-grey; ends
are sometimes powdery; lobes puffed up and hollow.

2. Intermediate:
-

Figure 3 - Hypogmia (OPAL Lichen Guide)

Melanelixia

Grows in both polluted and clean air environments.


Like Parmelia and Flavoparmelia it can be found on trees in
towns and in the countryside. There are two species found on
trees in England. Dull brown lobes; closely attached to bark;
paler areas show when surface is rubbed - a useful way to tell
it apart from similar species.
Figure 4 - Melanelixia (OPAL Lichen Guide)

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Flavoparmelia

Is found on trees in woodland but is also becoming


increasingly common in towns and villages, so it seems to
be able to grow in both clean and polluted air.
Flavoparmelia can live on a wide range of surfaces and may
grow to cover an area the size of a dinner plate. Its name
comes from 'flavus' in Latin, which means yellow or golden.

Figure 5 - Flavoparmelia
(OPAL Lichen Guide)

This may be a little misleading as its colour is mostly an apple green. Broad, apple-green
lobes; wrinkled surface on which powdery spots may develop.

Parmelia

Indifferent to air pollutants and can be found growing


in both polluted and clean air environments. It is quite hardy
and can put up with large amounts of bird droppings, which
will kill off many other lichen. Lobes thin, loosely attached
to bark; pattern of white lines on the surface; may leave a
ring, like toadstools, if the central portion dies out.

Figure 6 - Parmelia (OPAL Lichen Guide)

3. Nitrogen loving:
-

Leafy Xanthoria

Thrives in areas with nitrogen pollutants. This


lichen is common in big cities and near major roads. Its
bright yellow colour makes it very easy to spot. In fact, the
name Xanthoria comes from 'xanthos', a Greek word
meaning yellow. Lobes broad and spreading; lobes yellow
or orange (in sun) to greenish yellow (in shade); orange
fruiting bodies often present.

Figure 7 - Leafy Xanthoria (OPAL Lichen Guide)

Cushion Xanthoria

Thrives in environments with polluted air. It is


similar to Leafy Xanthoria, but does not have the broad,
spreading leaf-like lobes. Lobes small and clustered; lobes
yellow (in sun) to green-grey (in shade); orange fruiting
bodies usually present.

Figure 8 - Cushion Xanthoria


(OPAL Lichen Guide)

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Physcia

Physcia thrives in polluted air environments, so


expect to see these lichens in big cities and near major
roads. There are several species of Physcia but there are
only two that have whiskers on their lobes, and these
are the ones to look out for in the survey. Lobes grey
on top, whitish below; lobe ends raised up becoming

Figure 9 - Physcia (OPAL Lichen


Guide)

powdery; black-tipped whiskers on the lobe edges.

CHAPTER 4

Methods

The methodology used in this project was the one presented by the OPAL Air
Quality Survey.
The OPAL Air Survey is divided into two parts:
-

Activity 1 uses lichens on trees

Activity 2 uses a fungus (Rhytisma) that causes tar spot on sycamore leave

In Activity 1, lichens growing on tree trunks and twigs are used as bioindicators
of nitrogen pollution.
In Activity 2, a fungus which grows on sycamore leaves is used as another
bioindicator of air pollution. Help to map the distribution of tar spot and relate this to
differences in air quality across the country.
To complete the Survey, it will be done the following steps provided by the OPAL
Air Survey chart:
Activity 1 lichens on trees

Site characteristics

First choose your site. Look for a site with deciduous trees (use the enclosed Tree
Guide) and lots of light. It is suggested oak, ash or sycamore. Avoid evergreen trees and
trees which are heavily shaded (e.g. beech and horse chestnut) or covered in ivy. If
sampling in woodland, use trees at the edge rather than the centre. Choose 24 trees of
the same type if possible.

Tree characteristics

Record for each tree: the type (species) of tree, or answer unknown if you are
not sure; and the girth of the trunk at 1 m above the ground.

Record indicator lichens on the trunk


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Choose the side of the trunk with the most lichens. Focus just on the lichens at
50200 cm above ground level. Although there may be many different types of lichen
growing on the trunk, the interest is only in the nine indicator lichens shown in the Chapter
3. Record the total amount of each indicator lichen you see on the side of the trunk you
have chosen as follows:
0 None (this is an important result)
1 Small amount overall (amounting to less than
of an A4 sheet of paper in total)
2 Medium amount overall (amounting to between up to one A4 sheet in total)
3 Large amount overall (more than one A4 sheet in total
-

Count how many other types of lichen there are. Record this number in the
table.

Look for green or orange algae on the trunk. Record in the table any algae you
find.

Record any insects or other organisms you find on the tree (illustrated on page
7 of the workbook). You can find more information and help with
identification on the OPAL website.

Record lichens on twigs

Can you reach the twigs? If so, check if any of the indicator lichens are present.
Dont spend more than 5 minutes looking. Avoid dead or fallen twigs; only record from
twigs under 2 cm in diameter up to a length of 1 m.
Record the presence of indicator lichens with a tick (). Enter zero (0) for each
indicator species which was not present when you looked. If there are green or orange
algae on the twigs enter a tick in the box.

Complete your survey

Upload your results to the OPAL website www.OPALexplorenature.org. There is


a map on the OPAL website to help you find your location and postcode.
Activity 2 Tar spot of sycamore

Site characteristics

Choose 24 sycamore trees. Use the enclosed Tree Guide to help you. There is no
need to remove any of the leaves. Either choose leaves still attached to the tree or collect
fallen leaves from under the tree. You do not have to carry out the tar spot survey in the
same place as the lichen survey.

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Tree characteristics

Record for each sycamore tree: the girth of each trunk at 1 m above the ground;
and the amount of fallen leaves lying under each tree (0 = no fallen leaves, 1 = a small
amount of fallen leaves, 2 = lots of fallen leaves).

Record leaf information

Choose 10 leaves randomly from each tree. Record for each leaf: the number of
tar spots, including any partial (not full) spots; and the width of the leaf (in cm) at its
widest point.

Complete your survey

Upload your results to the OPAL website www.OPALexplorenature.org.

After the field work, the Results chapter on the OPAL Air Survey Field Notebook
will be completed, helping to better understand the obtained results of the study. The
outcomes will also be uploaded on the OPAL website so it will be available to other
researchers, helping with air quality survey.
The chosen sites for this study were the Chatham Graveyard and the Rochester
Castle for completion of activity one, and the Medway Park for activity two.

CHAPTER 5

Results

The results will be presented below, separated into activity 1 and activity 2. It was
used as base for the results analyse the OPAL Air Survey Workbook.
Activity 1 lichens on trees:

1st site: Chatham graveyard


-

Site characteristics: Churchs graveyard at Dock Road (ME4 4TX). Next to a


busy road.

Tree 1

Tree 2

Tree 3

Species: Horse Chestnut

Species: unknown

Species: unknown

Trunk girth*: 371.4 cm

Trunk girth: 398 cm

Trunk girth: 274.8 cm

*The trunk girth was measured at the height of approximately 1 meter from the ground.
Table 3 - tree characteristics

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Amount of each indicator lichen on the trunk of each tree


Tree 1

Tree 2

Tree 3

Usnea

Evernia

Other species

green

green

green

Presence of algae*

* Presence of orange algae on the graves near the trees.


Table 4 - Amount of lichens on the trees

Presence of indicator lichen on the twigs of each tree


(yes or no)
Tree 1

Tree 2

Tree 3

Usnea

Yes

No

Yes

Other species

No

No

No

Table 5 - Presence of lichens on the twigs

Species of animals seen at the site: spiders, snails and moths.

2nd site: Rochester Castle


-

Site characteristics: playing field/park around the Rochester Castle. Busy


roads around the castle; touristic site.

Tree 1

Tree 2

Tree 3

Species: unknown

Species: unknown

Species: unknown

Trunk girth*: 129.2 cm

Trunk girth: 136.2 cm

Trunk girth: 128 cm

*The trunk girth was measured at the height of approximately 1 meter from the ground.
Table 6 - Tree characteristics (2)

Indicator lichens on the trunk: no lichens were found in any of the trees; green
algae were found on the trunk of all the trees.

Lichens on twigs: no lichens were found on the twigs.

Species of animals seen at the site: moths.

Activity 2 tar spot of Sycamore

site: Medway Park


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Site characteristics: playing field/park near universities; busy road next to the
site.

Tree 1

Tree 2

Tree 3

Trunk girth*: 371.4 cm

Trunk girth: 398 cm

Trunk girth: 274.8 cm

Fallen leaves: small amount

Fallen leaves: small amount

Fallen leaves: small amount

*The trunk girth was measured at the height of approximately 1 meter from the ground.
Table 7 - Tree characteristics (3)

Tree 1
Leaf number

Tree 2

Tree 3

Number of

Leaf width

Number of

Leaf width

Number of

Leaf width

tar spots

in cm

tar spots

in cm

tar spots

in cm

22

21.5

12

23.4

17

12.5

15

15.1

12

19.0

23

15.5

12

17.5

13

18.0

13.7

17

20.2

30

23.6

16

13.2

17

17.3

16

19.1

39

16.7

10

12.4

13

17.8

10

12.7

19

14.2

18.3

12

13.0

10.7

19.0

12.5

16

21.4

18.0

11

14.1

10

20

21.6

18

20.1

13.2

Table 8 - Leaf information

Below are presented a few pictures from the field work:

Figure 10 - Sample of some leaves from the Activity 2

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Figure 11 - Green Algae found at the Rochester Castle site

CHAPTER 6

Discussion

Within the results it is possible to see the presence of a nitrogen sensitive lichen
on the trunk of the trees of the Graveyard and also in the twigs, which indicates a good
air quality level. There is also a huge amount of green algae around the trees, on the
graves, which can indicate a high level of sulphur dioxide. Further research need to be
done to better understand these results since the presence of nitrogen sensitive lichens
opposes the amount of green algae since it can indicate bad air quality conditions.
In the second site though no indicator lichens were found but green algae were
present in all the trunks of the trees analysed. If air is very badly polluted with sulphur
dioxide there may be no lichens present, just green algae may be found (Air Pollution,
2014), so the presence of the green algae and no lichens found may indicate a bad air
condition, which can be explained by the location of the Castle. It is surrounded by roads,
and next to the riverside, so it receives pollution from ships and cars, besides being a
touristic point and a recreational park which can contributes with pollution for the
degradation of the site.
On the tar spot study, only one site was analysed. The trees studied at the Medway
Park showed a large amount of tar spots on the leaves of Sycamore trees, which indicates
good air quality.
The study could easily analyse the air quality of the sites, though more research is
necessary to better understand the results and also to provide a more reliable answer about
air quality on the sites. It is necessary to provide laboratory analyses to receive an accurate
measurement of pollutants in the air. So the study would be a complementary type of air
pollution monitoring, being necessary other kinds of studies.

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CHAPTER 7

Conclusion

It is shown by this project how easily the population can get involved with air
pollution research on their environments, and how helpful local and globally it is. The
OPAL Air Survey is a great way to collect data from all around the country and the citizen
participation helps to map pollutants on different areas. This is an easy and cheap way to
get feedback on air quality and get people to interact more with nature.
The use of lichens as bioindicators is a reliable and easy methodology to be
applied on any possible site, and can be applied by common people. The OPAL Air
Survey is a great idea and should be implemented in other countries.
The use of citizen participation can be very helpful for air monitoring, in that
manner it would be a great investment to create a similar guide such as the OPAL one in
Brazil, increasing the population involvement with such a concern as air pollution. It is
also important to increase the environmental education, and for so the Air Pollution
Teaching Pack offered by the Environmental Protection UK is a good way of getting
started. The use of the Teaching Pack at schools is very good to get kids involved with
their environment since early ages, and can be what the Brazil needs to make the
population aware about the small changes that can be done so our environment would
improve, improving as well our quality of life.

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DEFRA, 2011. UK and EU Air Quality Policy Context. Department for Environment,
Food & Rural Affairs. Web. Access 22 July 2014.
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