According to the European Landsape Organisation (2011), plants’ leaves absorb certain chemicals in the air and transport them inside plant tissue down to the roots. Plants pull this air down around their roots when moisture is released from the leaves during transpiration. In the plants root area, microbes that inhabit there turn the VOC’s into food for the plant. It is these agents that act as”natures biological cleaning machines” (ELO, 2011)
As nellieliz4mentioned, the plants absorb airborne compounds through their leaves. Some plants are better at absorbing certain compounds. If you are interested in looking at some of the best plants for absorbing harmful chemicals, here is a good place to start:
An example of this would be how trees store carbon dioxide. This is why deforestation is such a huge factor in climate change; trees are being chopped down, and carbon is being released into the atmosphere in large amounts. We are losing our trees which help filter the air, and all of the carbon stored in the trees for millions of years is back in the atmosphere.
I agree with environmichael. Plants and trees “breathe in” the carbon dioxide in the air, and exhale oxygen; humans and animals in turn inhale the oxygen and exhales carbon dioxide, and the symbiotic cycle continues. What is happening now is as we cut down and displace more trees and plants, the ration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere becomes greater. Adding to this CO2 ratio is our industry, vehicles, and simply burning things. Plants are our natural air filters, and if we don’t start rebuilding their populations, asphyxiation may be a problem in the future, among others.
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