BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Ozone is something you can’t see, but it’s nearly everywhere, and scientist in Boulder say it’s damaging plants. Researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research have been growing plants specifically to see ozone effects.
After 5 years, scientists are seeing plant damage they say is consistent from all the poor air quality in the Denver metro area.
What’s making conditions worse they explained is all the pollution being emitted by cars and burning of fuels, combined with sunny weather. That causes a chemical reaction which creates a layer of ozone gas, that is commonly recognized as smog. Scientists believe the adverse effects are not limited to plants, they say it also impact people’s health. But what makes researchers so sure it’s ozone that’s doing the damage? Danica Lombardozzi studies air pollution at the center and says there’s clear evidence.
“The way that we know that it’s ozone damage is by looking at the signs and making sure that they’re characteristics of ozone, so basically what that means is that the damage is on the top surface of the leaf,” Lombardozzi said.
There are several ways air pollution can be reduced, however, scientists say individually people can make a difference by cutting down on driving and using mass transit.