LA Green Gounds is joining a science project organized by the science writer at KPCC, Jacob Margolis. It’s called the Ozone Project, and will have LAGG and other volunteer growers all over the city growing beans to study the impact of ozone stress on plant health.
As Margolis wrote recently, the air above our city is among the country’s worst, specifically for ground-level ozone, which is an unhealthful byproduct “of the sun and heat baking all of the toxic emissions we pump into the sky.”
Margolis decided to set up a citizen science project in which people would receive beans to plant – one variety that shows ozone damage and one that does not. Of course, the growers won’t know which is which.
LAGG took beans to plant in our garden but also to distribute to growers in the adjacent community garden and to our volunteers.
“When plants take up carbon dioxide through tiny little holes in their leaves called stomata, they end up taking in the air pollution around them as well. Once the ozone enters the plant, it acts as if it’s being attacked by some sort of pathogen and works to drop the impacted leaves (usually the oldest), to stop the problem from spreading,” Margolis wrote.
He wants us citizen scientists to post updates every week – including photos on social media with hashtag #ozonebeans and @jacobmargolis. Margolis can be reached at [email protected].