Cities Should Think Of Trees As Public Health Infrastructure

Importance of trees in cities. Image: Leonardo da Shutterstock

Planting trees is a way to improve people’s health, a way that is easy and very cheap. Trees, in addition to beautifying a city, provide fresh and clean air. That is why they should be thought of as a public health infrastructure.

All people should be able to breathe clean air. This should be possible in big cities too. Trees not only decorate the streets, but also help the physical and mental health of its inhabitants.

The organization The Nature Conservancy question why this is not included in the funding of public health?

This organization produced a document that explains with figures, the reasons why this should be done.

To prepare this document , the United States was taken as a guide. Since in that country, less than a third of 1% is spent in the budget to maintain and plant trees. As a result, cities in North America lose four million trees a year.

This is an official document that details the problem, its causes, concepts, and solutions to fight it.

It is estimated that with 8 dollars per person per year, on average, the loss of trees could be prevented.

It would also be possible to increase the use of the benefits that these generate. The number does not suggest the value, but is a sign that the investment is possible.

Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Image: Iktotchi Shutterstock

Investment has decreased.

In this regard, the report indicates that cities are currently spending less on caring for or planting new trees than in previous decades.

The lack or presence of trees is often linked to the income level of a neighborhood. This creates a huge inequality in health.

In the United States, the difference in life expectancy between nearby neighborhoods can be up to a decade.

The difference in health is not just about the trees. But researchers say that neighborhoods with fewer trees have worse health outcomes for their residents. In this way, it can be concluded that urban inequality can worsen health levels.

However, there are other cities, such as London, or countries such as China or New Zealand, if they are worrying about reforesting en masse.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Image: Shipfactory Shutterstock

Tips for having more trees in the city.

The document raises a series of tips that can be used by public and private power:

  • Implement policies that encourage private tree planting.
  • Municipal exchanges that consequently facilitate the collaboration of public health organizations and environmental agencies.
  • Link tree and park funding to health goals and objectives.
  • On the other hand, educate the population about the benefits of public health. as well as on the economic impact of trees.

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