June 5th is the day designated as World Environment Day. This year, China is leading the global celebrations focusing on Air Pollution – #BeatAirPollution.
Air pollution occurs everywhere – indoors, outdoors, in cities and even rural areas. Common types of air pollutants harmful to human health include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide, to name a few.
Some facts that may leave you gasping for air:
- An estimated 7 million people worldwide die prematurely due to air pollution. Close to 4 million of these deaths are from the Asia-Pacific region.
- 92% of the human population do not breathe clean air.
- The global economy will spend $5 trillion every year in welfare costs due to air pollution.
- Staple crop yields is expected to decrease by 26% by the year 2030 due to ground-level ozone pollution.
We can’t stop breathing but we can find ways to reduce air pollution. Let’s look at 3 creative (and not to mention impressive!) innovations around the world to combat air pollution.
1. The Smog-Free Tower: Converting Smog Into Diamonds
What if pollution could be turned into bedazzling diamonds? Look no further, The Smog-Free Tower does the trick!
Designed by Dutch artist, Dan Roosegaarde, the tower has the capability of cleaning large amounts of air – the amount of air in an average football stadium can be cleared in one and a half days! That’s not all, smog particles are collected and compressed producing diamonds in just half an hour (no joke!) The tower, first installed in Rotterdam in 2015, recorded 70 to 75% cleaner air and has since been used in other parts of the world such as China, Netherlands and Poland.
2. China’s World Largest Air Purifier
In January 2018, a giant skyscraper was constructed in Xian, China to beat air pollution. The massive structure which measures 328 feet (100 meters) is said to improve air quality over a 10 square kilometer area in Xian.
The South China Morning Post reported (based on an interview with Cao Junji, Head of Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences) on the worst-pollution filled days, the tower could reduce smog close to moderate levels. In addition, the tower requires little power to run even in daylight compared to the Smog-Free Tower designed by the Dutch which can run on solar energy. With tests still ongoing, it won’t be surprising to see similar skyscrapers being used in other parts of the world!
3. Envinity’s Pollution Vacuum Cleaner
Envinity Group, a Dutch tech start-up aims to improve the future for people, animals and the environment in a sustainable manner. The giant industrial vacuum cleaner which first debuted in 2016, is said to eliminate 100% of fine particles and 95% of ultra-fine particles, identified as carcinogenic risks, within 300 meters.
The large industrial filter measures about 8 metres long, made of steel and basically works like a big vacuum cleaner – it sucks in dirty air, filters it, then pumps clean air out! Many businesses and countries are already interested in the cleaner, according to the group.
Beating air pollution is our collective responsibility. Consider these simple steps on how you can take action to quash air pollution!
- Use public transportation, walk or carpool whenever possible.
- Avoid smoking indoors. Keep windows open to increase air ventilation.
- Place plants in your home, such as aloe vera or palms that will improve air quality.
- Avoid burning leaves, trash, and other materials.