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Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…

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Smog-Sucking Towers In China Begin Creating Jewelry Out of Polluting Particles

Beijing Skyline

Smog-sucking towers in the Chinese capital city have filtered 10 Beijing National Stadium’s worth of air and have removed billions of harmful PM2.5 particles out of the polluted atmosphere that millions of Chinese citizens are exposed to every day, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

The seven-meter tall towers constructed in The Netherlands have filtered 30 million cubic meters of air since they began work 41 days ago. The machines use the extracted smog particles to create commemorative rings, according to a report by Sputnik news.

Studio Roosegaarde, the Dutch firm that created the towers, came up with the concept three years ago, when the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that 80 percent of the Chinese capital’s population had been exposed to air-quality levels hazardous to the public’s health.

The Chinese Forum for Environmental Justice has challenged the effectiveness of the towers, disparaging them as “smog warning towers” as the “weight of the machine’s captured particulate matter per hour is less than that of a spoonful of salt.”

Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde, who began working on the towers in 2014 after receiving approval from the Chinese government, originally intended for the particles extracted from the air to be turned into diamonds.

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The artist has already worked on several projects to recycle energy in unusual ways, such as a plan for a road that charges electric cars as they drive, or a floor that would generate electricity when danced on.

Roosegaarde said his invention would help Beijing’s air quality issue by producing corridors of clean air that would allow the sunlight to shine through. The version he planned for Beijing should have had a cleaning diameter of about 50 meters, which would produce results almost immediately, he said during the original planning stages of the project.

The CFEJ agrees that the towers help to filter the air, but argues that there are not enough of them in number to make a real difference in solving Beijing’s pollution problem.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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  • Steve Schutt on December 03 2016 said:
    Corners: you might consider that, as it once was in Denver, the vast majority of the pollution may well come from all manner of distributed sources like cars, scooters, fireplaces or other small, decentralized things...so scrubbing smokestacks is fine, but may well not be nearly enough.

    BTW: 2-cycle engines are huge polluters. I have no idea how many are still used in China, tho.
  • LG Jim on December 02 2016 said:
    There appears to be more green space in Beijing than in my Chicago or most large cities, so is it autos , factories, climate and geography or what that produce the particulates ? Are China's cars for domestic sale not equipped with anti-pollution ? Maybe years ago, but how about now ?
  • LG Jim on December 02 2016 said:
    @COMERS.....you make too much sense to be leaving comments. Pls stop or the internet will implode.
  • pdj on November 28 2016 said:
    We've had those towers for years and they're 1000x more efficient than these towers. They're called trees.
  • corners on November 28 2016 said:
    Wouldn't it makes much more sense to filter the air before it leaves the smoke stacks? Instead of after the fact when its all diluted in much more air.
  • corners on November 28 2016 said:
    "the Chinese capital city have filtered 10 Beijing National Stadium’s worth of air and have removed billions of harmful PM2.5 particles out of the polluted atmosphere "

    This is like New York City getting excited and saying it recycled a few aluminum cans so it saved the city.

    10 stadiums is trivial, and thats being generous

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