China has now a Giant smog-consuming Chimney

China has now a Giant smog-consuming Chimney

China is making great steps on cleaning their country

Air pollution is one of the major concerns that humans face today. Harmful chemicals are released from factories and industrial plants and mix with the air we breathe. We are already seeing a lot of respiratory issues that are spreading rapidly due to this problem. This pollution can cause serious damage to the lungs if the accumulation of these substances continues to mount for larger periods of time. This is an issue that is acknowledged at world level and efforts are being made to control it one way or another.

All this pollution gave way to Smog. It is actually a combination of smoke and fog which allows the dust and other dangerous chemicals to stay in the lower atmosphere. It forms a thick, hazy layer in our atmosphere and all the harmful chemicals are stored for us to breathe. Unplanned cutting of trees to incorporate increasing demands of shelter and employment has played an important role in this regard. Smog is becoming an extremely threatening issue for big cities of the world and different countries are looking for ways to tackle it. China has made quite a noticeable breakthrough in this field.

China was paying the price of all the development by facing some of the worst smog in the world. Their government realized that this issue needs priority as the climate was becoming quite un-friendly for the citizens of many cities. They started programs for plantation of trees and simultaneously invested $2 million for developing a filtration system so that cleaner air is provided to the urban residents. In a recent announcement, it was declared that the prototype of a ‘smog-sucking chimney’ is ready and working. It has the capacity to filter 8 million cubic meters of air on daily basis.

The chimney is built on top of a large open structure. The roof of that building is made up of glass as solar energy is being used to heat up the air. The heated air rises and reaches the base of the chimney. After that, it passes through several levels of filtration before it is released into the atmosphere. High-quality industrial filters are installed at each and every level of that chimney.

Biker wearing mask due to air pollution in China

Different harmful components require different filtering procedures and that’s why these levels are designed inside this chimney to ensure that maximum impurities are taken care of. The height of this chimney is about 60 feet and it has been constructed in the city of Xian. The construction has been done in a way that it is helping the environment dually. Cleaning air using solar energy means you are removing the pollution without adding any of it.

The first practical experiment was done in January this year when the project lead, Cao Junji, checked the working of the system. As smog is formed primarily in winters following the drop in temperature, it was the best time to analyze the efficiency of the system. The equipment installed had the ability to measure any particulate matter which was under 2.5 micrometers in diameter. The official results of that procedure had not come out as yet but it is being assumed that it provided 5 to 8 million cubic meters of clean air every day. Nearby areas of the chimney recorded 19 percent fewer particles than the other parts of the city.

A couple of reservations have appeared as well which doubt the feasibility of this project. Firstly, the ability of the chimney to filter out chemicals like Sulphur dioxide gas is still questionable. Professor Neil Donahue, who is an expert in chemical engineering and manages public policy at Carnegie Mellon University declared his uncertainty in this regard.

Secondly, the economic feasibility of the project is still under discussion. According to Cao, nearly six chimneys are needed to tackle smog in massive urban centers. This takes the cost to a level where it might become too expensive to afford. You might argue that advantages of this filtration system are very important so one-time expenditure should be done for ensuring better health of the public.

The statement of Cao makes things even more complex as the operational cost of this amazing invention is also quite high. He gave an estimated amount of $30 000 per year for running this project. If all the benefits manage to outweigh these factors, it is indeed a great step towards a cleaner environment.

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