Air pollution in China has been a persistent problem and sometimes it appears that the government isn’t doing enough to combat it. But, Daan Roosegaarde, a 37-year-old Dutch designer and artist, has come up with a plan.
Roosegaarde, the same guy who created glowing highways and roads two years ago in the Netherlands, believes that he can purify China’s air by building “Smog Free Towers” and turning all those hazardous particles into jewelry. Sounds just crazy enough to work!
He came up with the idea back in 2013 when he was staring out at the smoggy air from his hotel room in Beijing. Roosegaarde says that the 7-meter-tall tower will essentially be a large outdoor air purifying machine, which will suck in polluted air, filter out the smog particles and release the clean air out, Bloomberg reports. It will be able to clean 30,000 cubic meters of air every hour and runs on wind energy. The carbon particles collected, will then be compressed to make diamond rings, because what else would you do with them?
In 2015, the Dutch artist put his idea up on Kickstarter, with the goal of raising €50,000 (370,000 RMB). To this day, he has a total of 1,577 backers and has surpassed his goal, raising €113,153 (836,579 RMB). With his device, Roosegaarde has already cleaned the air in a small park in Rotterdam, Netherlands and is looking to bring the tower to the city where it can help the most: Beijing.
He has already visited Beijing before to meet with officials more than five times to talk about his ideas and hopes of bringing the towers to 20 to 25 parks in Beijing. Though he has been approached by private companies in China about his idea, he insists on working with local governments and universities. Fortunately, this vision has become a reality.
On June 28th, Roosegaarde officially launched the “Smog Free Project China” along with China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection. The project will come to Beijing this summer, bringing towers that will improve the air quality by 70%-75% in the immediate area around the towers. Then, the project will continue to different cities across China.
Besides just combating smog in cities, there is even more to the idea. Beijing’s smog is 32% carbon and can be turned into diamonds after 30 minutes of compression. Donors to the project will receive a diamond cube, which represents a donation of 1,000 cubic meters of clean air. The money from the jewelry will be funneled back into developing and building more towers.
The Smog Free Tower can filter out enough carbon in a day to produce around 3,500 cubes that are 4mm to 5mm large.
Shanghai funeral homes have recently had much the same idea, promising to turn your dead relatives ashes into beautiful diamonds for a high price.
While this method might be effective, it certainly isn’t the final solution to solving air pollution, only the first step. In fact, Roosegaarde would rather the towers just not exist at all. “How can we create a city where in 10 years these towers aren’t necessary anymore?” he asks.
Watch the Kickstarter proposal below:
By Sarah Lin
[Images via The Smog Free Project]