Jewel of an idea aims to clear air
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.