Air Quality

A goal of the Greenleaf Commission is to improve outdoor and indoor air quality in the Livonia community.

Energy Quiz

Take a quiz to find out how the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions compare to 20 years ago.

House Plants that Clean Indoor Air

More recently scientists have discovered that certain houseplants can rid indoor air of a number of common household pollutants and toxins. Learn about these plants from the Sustainable Baby Steps website.

How the Greenhouse Effect Happens

View the Greenhouse Effect video to learn more about the subject.

Trees Reduce Air Pollution

Trees Reduce Air PollutionTrees and other plants make their own food from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, water, sunlight and a small amount of soil elements. In the process, they release oxygen for us to breathe. Managing and protecting forests and planting new trees reduces carbon dioxide levels by storing carbon in their roots and trunk and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.

Benefits of Trees

  • Absorb carbon dioxide and other dangerous gasses and, in turn, replenish the atmosphere with oxygen.
  • Absorb enough carbon dioxide on each acre, over a year's time, to equal the amount you produce when you drive your car 26,000 miles. Trees remove gaseous pollutants by absorbing them through the pores in the leaf surface. Particulates are trapped and filtered by leaves, stems, and twigs, then washed to the ground by rainfall.
  • Help to settle out, trap and hold particle pollutants (dust, ash, pollen and smoke) that can damage human lungs.
  • Produce enough oxygen on each acre for 18 people every day.

Air Pollutants

Air pollutants injure trees by damaging their foliage and impairing the process of photosynthesis (food making). They also weaken trees making them more susceptible to other health problems such as insects and diseases. The loss of trees in our urban areas not only intensifies the urban "heat-island" effect from loss of shade and evaporation, but we lose a principal absorber of carbon dioxide and trapper of other air pollutants as well.


Some of the major air pollutants and their primary sources are:

  • Carbon dioxide, from:
    • Burning oil
    • Coal
    • Decay and burning of tropical forests
    • Natural gas for energy
  • Chlorofluorocarbons from:
    • Air conditioners
    • Industrial foam
    • Refrigerators
  • Hydrogen floride and silicon tetrafluoride from:
    • Aluminum and phosphate fertilizer production
    • Oil refineries
    • Steel manufacturing
  • Methane from:
    • Burning fossil fuels
    • Livestock waste
    • Landfills
    • Rice production
  • Nitrous oxides from:
    • Burning fossil fuels and automobile exhausts
  • Ozone from chemical reactions of sunlight on automobile exhaust gases. Ozone is a major pollutant in smog.
  • Sulfur dioxide from: 
    • Burning coal to generate electricity