Plants are lungs of the Earth”
BY: Syed Azaz Mustafa
We might have come across the phrase “Plants are lungs of the earth” but we may have never pondered upon substantiality and extensiveness of this statement. Earth comprises 82% of Plants in terms of biomass and over 400,000 plant species are found in the earth’s sphere out of which only 31,000 are documented. So , how plant can be the lungs of the earth. As we know the basic function of the lungs in the human body is to provide essential element like Oxygen remove noxious gas like Carbon Dioxide from the body. So, how trees act as lungs for the earth?
Green leaves absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen back into the atmosphere in a process called photosynthesis. This is how trees help to purify the air we breathe and produce the oxygen we need to live. Photosynthesis also helps to regulate the Earth’s climate by removing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Green leaves also play an important role in the water cycle by evaporating water from their leaves, which then condenses and falls back to the ground as rain or snow.
But they also act as the “liver” of the ecosystem, filtering air pollutants like Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen Dioxide through their leaves. Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen Dioxide are considered as the main pollutants which form Acid Rain which further has many harmful impacts on the environment as well as the living components of it.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Trees and vegetation can reduce outdoor air temperatures around homes and buildings by providing shade and releasing water vapor into the air through their leaves.” This can translate into decreased energy costs for cooling the home during hot weather. In the winter, trees can block cold winds and help reduce heating costs. In one study, it was shown that evergreen trees planted on the north and west sides of a home could reduce heating costs by as much as 30 percent. This results in lower consumption of energy comsuming air conditioners in warmer climates. Less demand for energy production leads to fewer emissions of pollutants, fewer greenhouse gases, and ultimately less carbon in the atmosphere.
Unfortunately, the world’s forests are being cleared at an alarming rate. Deforestation, which is the conversion of forested land to the land that is not forested, is responsible for up to 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions. This is largely due to the fact that trees that are cut down are decomposed, releasing their stored carbon into the atmosphere. Deforestation is a huge problem because it not only destroys the homes of many species of animals, but also because it contributes to climate change.
We individually, as citizens of the earth need to pay heed to this alarming issue as in near future it will become a major problem for us and our environment. Many Organizations like United Nations Environment Programme, Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency are working nationally and internationally to restore a sustainable ecosystem for everyone on the planet earth.
In conclusion, it is quite evident that plants play a pivotal role in the Earth’s atmosphere. They help to purify the air, regulate the climate and are also a major source of food and resources for humans and animals. Given the importance of plants, it is essential that we protect them and their habitats. We can do this by planting more trees, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, and by supporting organizations that are working to protect plants and their habitats.