Jewel of an idea aims to clear air

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHENG JINRAN in Bei­jing zhengjin­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A Dutch artist and en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist is plan­ning to bring to China a project in­spired by a visit to Bei­jing that demon­strates how tiny in­vis­i­ble smog par­ti­cles can be made into jew­elry such as rings.

Daan Roosegaarde is at­tempt­ing to raise pub­lic aware­ness about clean­ing the air.

He has made a Smog Free Tower, which be­gan to op­er­ate in Septem­ber in Rot­ter­dam, the Nether­lands, and he plans to bring it to China in Septem­ber.

The pol­lu­tants are col­lected from the 7-me­ter-high tower be­fore be­ing pro­cessed and con­densed into cubes mea­sur­ing 4 mm to 5 mm.

The cubes, which can be used to make rings, are not for sale but have been pre­sented as gifts to sup­port­ers at Kick­starter, a large crowd­fund­ing plat­form where Roosegaarde col­lected more than 110,000 euros ($122,000) for his tower project.

“I’m go­ing to bring the project to China, as Bei­jing is where I got the in­spi­ra­tion,” he said.

He said he vis­ited the city years ago and saw the huge dif­fer­ence in en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions at the China Cen­tral Tele­vi­sion tower on good days and smoggy days, which gave him the in­spi­ra­tion for the project.

“But it’s more than just clean­ing the air. I hope the project de­vel­ops pub­lic aware­ness of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion.”

Roosegaarde said his tower sucks in pol­luted air like a gi­ant vac­uum cleaner, be­fore fil­ter­ing it and re­turn­ing clean air through the tower’s vents.

It can pu­rify par­ti­cles as small as PM2.5 and clean 30,000 cu­bic me­ters of air per hour.

“It has per­formed well in re­duc­ing air­borne pol­lu­tants by 75 to 80 per­cent in a sur­round­ing area,” he said.

Liu Guozheng, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the China Fo­rum of En­vi­ron­men­tal Jour­nal­ists, which in­vited Roosegaarde to China, said the tower is de­signed to be aban­doned even­tu­ally, be­cause the ul­ti­mate goal is to im­prove air qual­ity to the ex­tent that the tower will be use­less.

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