Overcoming Air Pollution: How Mangroves Improve Air Quality

Climate changes

Mangroves, often referred to as the "rainforests of the sea," are not only the center of coastal biodiversity but also play a crucial role in improving air quality along coastlines. While their impressive ability to store carbon has received much attention, mangroves are equally adept at trapping and absorbing air pollutants.

Mangroves are unique ecosystems found in coastal areas regularly influenced by tidal movements and seawater. They flourish in tropical and subtropical regions, with Indonesia housing the world's largest and most diverse mangrove ecosystem, spanning approximately 3.5 million hectares. This accounts for nearly a quarter of the world's total mangrove area, boasting an impressive 92 distinct mangrove species.

Mangrove saplings planted in TWA Angke, Jakarta

Mangroves have inherent features that make them nature's air purifiers. They play a significant role in enhancing air quality through several mechanisms:

  1. Pollutant Capture: Mangrove leaves have specialized structures that capture airborne particles and pollutants, effectively cleansing the air as it passes through their canopy.
  2. Gas Absorption: With their unique root systems, mangroves absorb pollutants like carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and sulfur dioxide (SO2) from the atmosphere. This reduces the concentration of these harmful gases.
  3. Biological Transformation: Microorganisms within the mangrove ecosystem break down and detoxify pollutants, transforming them into less harmful forms.

The Advantage of Planting Mangrove

The mangrove ecosystem, a bridge between land and aquatic environments, is a shelter for biodiversity. Its diverse array of species includes insects, birds, bats, monkeys, and many more. Some species inhabit mangroves temporarily, while others make it their permanent home.

These organisms play pivotal roles in maintaining nutrient balance within the ecosystem. Some serve as detritus consumers and decomposers, contributing to organic matter breakdown and nutrient recycling.

Moreover, mangroves serve as crucial habitat and nursery grounds for economically valuable fish species. These include milkfish, mullet, and mudskipper, making the mangrove ecosystem vital both ecologically and economically.

The Crucial Role in Pollution Control

Jakarta, one of the world's most densely populated cities, grapples with air and water pollution. In August 13th 2023, the air quality in Jakarta was at 172, which falls under the unhealthy category. With the hazy skies due to the pollution, this condition spiked respiratory problems such as prolonged coughing and colds.

Jakarta's clouded sky, filled with pollution. Source: Priyombodo/Kompas

Mangroves, with their unique filtering capabilities, contribute significantly to pollution control. Mangrove leaves and roots capture airborne particles, dust, heavy metals, and pollutants from the air. They efficiently process organic waste from the water, breaking it down and reducing water pollution. By absorbing excess nutrients, they help prevent Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) that can harm aquatic life. Mangroves also reduce the impact of coastal erosion and flooding, making them vital for coastal cities like Jakarta.

Addressing Urbanization and Pollution Challenges

Urbanization poses a threat to mangrove ecosystems as land is converted for settlements and infrastructure development. It disrupts tidal patterns and alters water flow, impacting mangrove growth.

Pollution remains a concern, with high levels of heavy metals and chemicals affecting mangroves and marine life. Restoration efforts and improved waste management are essential to protect mangroves. This is what Jejakin has been working on since day one; to plant mangroves and restore the coastal ecosystem.

Amartha's representatives planting the mangrove sapling in Pantai Morodemak, Demak

Our commitment to a greener and cleaner world has led us to take concrete steps towards mangrove restoration and pollution control. We are working with many companies to accelerate the spread of mangrove planting programs within various cities, like Telkomsel Jaga Bumi and Amartha's Tanam Penuh Dampak in Demak, as well as BASE Green Collective in Jakarta.

Through these initiatives, we aim to enhance air quality, protect coastal ecosystems, and create healthier environments for local communities. These efforts align with the benefits of mangroves in filtering pollutants and mitigating the impact of urbanization.

About Jejakin

Jejakin is a climate tech company that focuses on creating solutions to mitigate climate change. Utilizing AI and IoT as the foundation of our technology, Jejakin aims to establish a circular economy through our platform, accelerating our clients' journey towards achieving net-zero emissions.

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