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An air purifier the size of a building is sucking up China’s smog and turning it into jewelry

  • Josh Horwitz
By Josh Horwitz

Asia Correspondent

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Anti-pollution technology is receiving a breath of fresh air in China.

Yesterday (Sept. 29) Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde and his team erected a seven-meter-tall air purifier in Beijing. The so-called Smog Free Tower purportedly treats 30,000 cubic meters of air per hour, collecting more than 75% of two kinds of pollutants, PM2.5 and PM10, that contribute to smog.

AP Photo/Andy Wong
AP Photo/Andy Wong
AP Photo/Andy Wong
Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde

The massive structure has its roots in a Kickstarter campaign that raised €113,153 ($127,000) in August 2015. It appeared first in Rotterdam last year before making its way east. With the support from China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, the structure will travel to three additional cities in the country after its stint in Beijing.

The Smog Free Tower does more than suck up pollution. It also turns particulate matter it into jewelry by compressing 1,000 cubic meters of polluted air into rings, which visitors can purchase.

China has some of the worst air pollution in the world. Last year, Beijing recorded PM2.5 levels that were 17 times greater than the limit recommended by the World Health Organization. Researchers estimate that pollution causes 1.6 million deaths annually in China, marking about 17% of all deaths.

Roosegaarde isn’t the only person to think up unconventional solutions to China’s smog problem. Over the past two years, officials and activists have experimented with smog vacuums, smog cannons, and smog-killing drones.

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