Clean Air and Carbon Rings

I read recently that our governor is planning to sink $400M into a satellite system that will study climate change.  It’s all well and good to have your head in the clouds if you mind what needs to be done on earth, but our California roads are in sad disrepair, and, unfortunately, most of the money earmarked for road repair has been rerouted to the general fund. A hunk will probably end up in space. Ah, well. So what if a couple of our main byways-highways ride like a bucking horse.

Soon after reading about the prospective satellite, I read about Daan Roosegaarde, a Dutch artist and technologist, who has invented the smog free tower.  While visiting Beijing for work, he was dismayed by the thick pollution and designed the world’s largest smog vacuum cleaner.  “Every hour, a smog free tower draws in 30,000 cubic meters (or nearly 8 million gallons) of polluted air, and returns it (clean) to the environment.”

A little side benefit turned up.  What do you do with all the particles gathered from the dirty air?  When Roosegaarde looked under a microscope, he found over half was carbon.  Carbon under high pressure becomes a diamond.  Diamonds make jewelry!  “The idea of using something toxic or broken and turning it into something beautiful is so inspiring.” (Something God does with people all the time, btw.)

Roosegaarde is building more smog free towers. They are now popping up in Krakow, Poland, Tianjin, China, and Mexico City is planning to have one this fall.  Next in line are India and Columbia.  Studio Roosegaarde is doing well.  (Prince Charles is wearing a pair of “smog-free” cuff links.)

Those smog free rings are made of hundreds of thousands of gallons of pollution sucked from the air and condensed into a tiny box covered by a shiny, protective casing.  Good thing, too, because those particles are so toxic, breathing them in could shorten an adult’s life by 6-8 years.

I can only hope our governor will ground his satellite ideas and invest in smog free towers.  We could use a couple in Southern California, and maybe one in the Bay Area as well.