Smog Free Tower: A clever Kickstarter to clean up our air

9 Sep 2015

The Smog Free Tower project, up on Kickstarter for a few weeks now, is seeking to raise money to create a network of giant vacuum cleaners to clean up our air.

With a week to go, Daan Roosegaarde’s project has already been backed to the tune of €77,000, more than 50pc above its goal, with the ‘world’s largest air purifier’ soon to emerge as a trial in Rotterdam.

Roosegaarde’s previous projects include a dancefloor that generates electricity, and a brilliant lit cycleway in Rotterdam, on the theme of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry, Starry Night painting.

As an introduction to what Roosegaarde calls ‘The Smog Free Movement’, he is basically building a radical, crazy construction that is a scaled-up example of a hospital air purifier.

In Rotterdam, the giant construction will create a clear pocket of Earth, where Roosegaarde hopes to meet enthusiasts to discuss ways of how to bring this idea around the world.

A global issue

Think Mexico City (which has its own ways of fighting back), San Francisco or Beijing – you picture smoggy, horrid air. Well, the latter of the trio is included in the project.

Smog from the Chinese city has been utilised as a gift for those who pledge.

“There should be no waste in the future,” said Roosegaarde, holding a clear bag with black grit in it.

The bagged, Beijing smog is 42pc carbon, which, when squeezed together really tightly, makes diamonds.

So as part of the funding, jewellery has been made with some smog in it, each piece representing 1,000 cubed metres of awful air.

Smog Jewellery Smog Free Tower

What is the alternative?

The Smog Free Tower is a great idea but it will be interesting to see how the actual construction comes about, with dozens of purifiers dominating the view hardly an ideal scenario.

Then again, neither is smog.

“One day I woke up and became fascinated with pollution. It’s really weird that we accept it as something normal, or that we somehow take it for granted,” said Roosegaarde.

The first tower has opened up. It looks like a 1980s office block, but it actually works.

Fair play to him.

Main image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic