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Is there an association between urban greenness and air pollution annoyance?

Donka Dimitrova, Angel Dzhambov



Apart from its physical effects air pollution might exert psychological stress effect on health. Based on the limited evidence about the symbolic value of urban greenness in traffic perception and a small body of research indicating that greenness might abate the negative perception of noise pollution, we hypothesized that it could also reduce air pollution annoyance.


We aimed to test this hypothesis and determine whether greenness could buffer the annoyance reaction to air pollution.

Material and methods

In a sample of 508 residents of Plovdiv, Bulgaria we investigated the interplay between objective and perceived air pollution exposure, annoyance, and several indicators of urban greenness, using path models.


Results showed that women living closer to a green space reported lower perceived air pollution exposure and through it - lower annoyance. This indirect path was driving the total effect and perceived air pollution acted as a full mediator. Among men there was no effect. With respect to perceived greenness, no effects on air pollution annoyance were found.


In conclusion, urban green spaces might act as a buffer for the psychological stress effect of air pollution. Nonetheless, at this formative stage of research the evidence is tentative.


air pollution, perceived air pollution, air pollution annoyance, stress, greenness, green space

Full Text


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About The Authors

Donka Dimitrova
Medical University of Plovdiv

Department of Health Management and Healthcare Economics, Faculty of Public Health

Angel Dzhambov
Department of Hygiene and ecomedicine, Faculty of Public Health, Medical University of Plovdiv

environmental hygiene/medicine, biostatistics, systematic reviews and meta-analyses

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