Several hi-tech ‘city tree’ devices are to be installed in Cork city as part of a 'greening the city' pilot project.
Up to four of the moss walls, or living walls as they are sometimes called, will be placed at strategic sites for several months.
The two-metre by two-metre by three-metre-high street furniture devices feature a large wall of moss which filters the air, and an array of sensors to collate air quality data which can be either downloaded or transmitted via the cloud to central locations for analysis.
They also feature built-in seats and it is expected that they will be placed in high-footfall public spaces.
A number of sites are being considered with a view to deploying the devices by the end of November.
“We are looking at a number of options and are analysing where they would be most impactful,” Cork City Council’s director of operations, David Joyce, said.
It is understood that the air quality findings will be assessed before a decision is made on whether more such be deployed around the city.
The devices are made by a German company, Green City Solutions, which claims they are the world’s first biotech filter to quantifiably improve air quality.
Different types of moss bind environmental toxins such as particulate matter and nitrogen oxides while producing oxygen at the same time.
The city tree devices are designed to contribute to cleaner air in public spaces by using the moss to absorb gases like carbon dioxide, which can in turn help to mitigate pollution and improve people's health.
The devices also feature “controllable ventilation technology” which allows airﬂow through the moss walls to be intensified, increasing the filter effect.
#GoodNewsTues!— Green City Solutions (@mycitytree) September 29, 2020
Our Moss Farm Manager Bahar Aciksöz sent us some beautiful captures of the 18 days old #moss!
This is how #wegrowfreshair!🍃
We love our little big #superhero. #Welovemoss. 💚#CityTree #FightEveryCrisis @UNEP
📸: GCS pic.twitter.com/R1z2D8qhd8
Green City Solutions says mosses also store large quantities of moisture, and because they provide a considerably increased evaporation surface, the devices create “an immense cooling eﬀect” in urban locations.
They have been used in Oslo as part of a city plan for air pollution control and urban design and in Hamburg.
The city council was criticised last week for felling a landmark stand of historic trees along Centre Park Road. The council said it had no option on public safety grounds because the trees were dead.
In Mallow, there is concern also about the felling of non-native, mature Monterey Cypress trees surrounding the playing field in Mallow Town Park.
The county council said a report found the trees to be in poor condition, with many exhibiting die-back associated with Coryneum Canker, and many had sustained significant storm damage, leaving them vulnerable to further damage.
The council said it has already planted more than 18,000 native trees — a combination of oak, birch, beech and Scots pine in the Lower Castle Park area of Mallow Town Park along with significant hawthorn and beech hedging and extensive planting for biodiversity, and local children have planted more than 5,000 crocus bulbs.