People are constantly on the hunt for ways to keep our air clean. Urban areas are choosing to build vertical gardens. On the other hand, marginalized communities are seeking more eco-conscious cooking alternatives. While every small step is leading us towards a more positive direction, researchers have yet to break ground. Perhaps they now have with recycled waste biochar, a material that tackles air pollution.
Biochar is ground charcoal produced from waste wood, manure or leaves. Added to soil, the porous carbon has been shown to boost crop yields, lessen the need for fertilizer and reduce pollutants by storing nitrogen that would otherwise be released to the atmosphere.
If properly incorporated into farming, researchers project a 67% drop in nitrous oxide emissions in the United States within the next year. This could mean cutting up to $660 million in annual healthcare costs for pollution-related illnesses.
“Agriculture rarely gets considered for air pollution control strategies. Our work shows that modest changes to farming practices can benefit the air and soil too.”
Based on extensive research, biochar seems like it’s worth a shot. After all, there’s nothing to lose except ozone.