"A tree for every major life event" to boost air quality and mental health

A Northern Ireland local authority has begun a programme of planting a native tree to mark every birth, death and marriage registered with it, "as part of a wider strategy to improve air quality and the public's mental health".

Image: Derry City and Strabane District Council
Image: Derry City and Strabane District Council

The Life Tree Project has been launched by Derry City and Strabane District Council in partnership with Northern Ireland's Public Health Agency, which provided funding, and the North West Regional College, which assisted in its marketing. 

It will see around 4,000 new trees planted in the area each year, with the council encouraging registering families to plant the tree at their own property, but if this lacks a suitable location it says it will plant a tree for them in its parks and green spaces.

Launching the scheme, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh congratulated the partners for "leading the way with this novel initiative which is a poignant means of marking and remembering the registrations of birth, deaths and marriages in our City and District".

He added: "Planting trees can not only decrease air pollution but it improves both the urban and rural landscape and encourages the public to experience the outdoors and the associated health benefits, so I am pleased that we are the first Council in the North to introduce this scheme."

PHA head of health and social wellbeing improvement Brendan Bonner said: "Reducing air pollution by planting more trees has the potential to decrease respiratory and heart conditions and illnesses, and improve the health and well-being of the population in the Derry and Strabane areas.

"This project matches up particularly well with our Take 5 Steps of Wellbeing initiative where we are encouraging the public to connect with each other, be active, take notice of the beauty around you, keep learning and to do something that helps other people."

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