But Not the Way You Think – Pollution in New York City is affecting trees?it’s making them grow bigger than the same kind of trees growing in the country. Ecologist Jillian Gregg says, “City-grown pollution, and ozone in particular, is tougher on country trees.”

Ground-level ozone is created by the action of sunlight on pollutants created in cities. However, in the city, other chemicals, such as nitric acid from cars, react with the ozone and cause the levels to drop to almost zero at night and in the winter. But this doesn’t happen to pollution that’s blown into rural areas.

“This [study] looked at one species in one city,” says Gregg. He studied the Eastern cottonwood or poplar, which can reach 100 feet or more in 35 years. He took identical root cuttings and planted some in the New York City and some in the countryside. After three seasons, the urban trees were thriving and weighed twice as much as the rural trees.

At least we’ll still have trees in our final hour.

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