CORK City Council has defended the installation of the controversial CityTrees after a massive debate was sparked online.
Five artificial trees costing €350,000 for the year including maintenance are being installed at the St Patrick’s St and on the Grand Parade near the City Library in Cork City to clean pollutants from the air.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast today, Director of Operations with Cork City Council David Joyce said that the new project is “new and innovative”.
He added: “Cork City Council has planned to plant 1,300 trees in 2021 alone, we have planted thousands of trees over the last number of years.
“We have continued through the Covid-19 crisis with our biodiversity plans across the city and we’re planting trees but why not do both? A CityTree is a completely different entity than a normal tree.
“A normal tree that you plant takes in carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. A CityTree takes in dust from burning fossil fuels, the moss eats the dust and cleans 80pc of dust out of the air. They’re complimentary to normal trees.”
And when asked about the costs of the project, Joyce told that most people on the streets of Cork City support it.
He added: “We have done extensive research into this, and we will be able to measure the impact over the next 12 months to prove the impact.”
The installation sparked a huge online debate this morning, with many Twitter users expressing their thoughts on the matter.
One said: “Terrible idea! They’re NOT trees! Why not tackle the real problem by replacing fossil fuel-run cars with more public transport? This is just a fancy dance around a real solution – yet again.”
Meanwhile, another user claimed that “greenwashing” was taking place, saying: “They are not trees though. If you are into green solutions would you not think it best to call them what they are? Large filters. It’s a staple of greenwashing to misuse terminology.”
Many more called for the Council to plant more real trees across the city.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
The CityTrees are large strictures that are covered in moss, and are designed to filter out harmful pollutants from the air.
The moss covering the structures acts as a filter to “trap” and “eat” fine dust particles.
This makes the project sustainable, because the fine dust filter is regenerative.
The Environmental Protection Agency say that air pollution is responsible for up to 1,300 deaths in Ireland each year.
However, when the idea was first raised in 2020 it was not met with open arms. Atmospheric scientist Dean Venables said that the devices are “a costly and ineffectual gimmick” and will have no meaningful impact on the city’s air quality.