5 Innovations Which Could Improve Urban Air Quality 

A sense of urgency is growing to clean up the urban air pollution all over the world. More residents move to urban areas. Unless these polluted cities implement some initiatives, there is a large tendency that the health of these people will deteriorate.  

Source: commons.wikimedia.org


According to research, more or less three million people around the world are prematurely dying due to the side effects of urban air pollution. First, it affects vulnerable children. Some asthma cases have been reported as among the most frequent illnesses they experience. Reports also mentioned how urban air pollution also affected their mental development negatively. In addition, this problem has also contributed to the rise of complications such as strokes, lung diseases, and heart attacks.  


This pressing issue woke up architects, urban planners, engineers, and designers to come up with initiatives that will address the pollution in urban environments. Let us explore some of these latest innovations.  


Smog Free Tower 

The Smog Free Tower is a freestanding structure dedicated to absorbing polluted air on its top surface and to expelling purified air from its side vents. This innovation works like a small air purifier. 

Source: commons.wikimedia.org


Dan Roosegaarde, the designer, piloted this in Rotterdam. He then brought it to Beijing, China to help the country reach its goal of becoming entirely smog free. In fact, a single tower can clean a maximum of 3.5 million cubic meters of air per day.  


Autonomous Vehicles 

One of the latest technological trends nowadays is the emergence of autonomous vehicles, also known as self-driving cars. This invention aims to answer the call of inefficiency in vehicles using the road network. According to its designers, traffic is one of the leading causes of the emergence of urban air pollution. To answer this problem, these autonomous vehicles were created to reduce the stop-start nature of traffic.  


Many studies confirmed that this invention could lessen local pollutants emission by 15 to 40 percent and reduce the release of greenhouse gases.  


Air Pollution Bricks 

This initiative does not avoid the presence of air pollutants; rather, it is a remedy to the already scattered dust in the surrounding. Using a vacuum cleaner, an artist called Nut Brother wanders around Beijing for four hours a day and collects dust and smog. This mixture is then mixed with clay to produce a brick.  


This strategy can be useful in making sure that the dirt around the cities does not just stay within the vicinity.  


Tiles With Air-Scrubbing Abilities  

Source: en.wikipedia.org


Titanium dioxide coats these tiles. When sunlight is directed to these tiles, it can act as a chemical reaction catalyst. Once UV rays hit the tiles, nitrogen oxides (the chemical present in making smog smoggy) are transformed into safe substances such as water and calcium nitrate. It’s also a good thing that the presence of titanium dioxide is assured since this substance does not deteriorate.  


Vertical Forests 

Source: pixabay.com


Vertical forests are buildings and structures that can accommodate up to 730 cultivated trees, 5,000 shrubs and bushes, and 11,000 plants. These ‘mini forests’ are installed on their balconies. This innovation aims to bring nature to the city and create an environment full of oxygen. Absorption of dust flying in the air is the main goal of this setup. 


Aside from the five technologies mentioned above, more innovations are still available that similarly address the recurring pollution problem. The challenge is on how the people can sustain these initiatives through policies and research. By immersing ourselves with these practices, our urban cities will be pollution-free in no time. It will just be a matter of cooperation and participation to achieve this goal. 





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