A new fix for Beijing’s pollution? A giant electromagnetic vacuum cleaner

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Beijing Flickr

Pollution fears are on the up-and-up in Beijing once again as winter, the smoggiest season of them all, fast approaches. After the World Health Organization released a report labelling air pollution as a leading cause of cancer earlier this month, China’s government is more frantic than ever to curb the level of PM 2.5 particles in the air.

So far, the local government’s contingency plan includes restricting the number of cars on the road, creating a colour-coded alert system, and stopping production at major polluting factories once the pollution reaches a certain level.

But the most wild attempt yet to clear the air comes from a deal between a Dutch artist and the Beijing Mayor. According to the Guardian, Daan Roosegaarde will test his electromagnetic vacuum cleaner that pulls pollutants out of the air similar to how a balloon uses static to attract your hair. In one of the city’s public parks, copper coils will be buried underground to replicate a successful experiment conducted in a 25-square-meter room.

Unfortunately, Beijingers won’t be able to reap the hypothesized benefits until the pilot project is ready in nine months. Don’t expect more these things to clean up the entire city, either. From the looks of it, the vacuum will only remove pollutants from a relatively small area, creating a sort of clean-air oasis in the immediate vicinity.

Check out the short animation below that visualizes how it will work. This isn’t Roosegarde’s first green tech art project either. He also proposed a plan for a “Smart Highway” in the UK, as well as several other projects.


This article by Paul Bischoff originally appeared on Tech in Asia, a Burn Media publishing partner. Image: Joe Dunckley via Flickr.

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