China’s air pollution problem is getting worse every year, with 2013 levels literally measuring off the chart. As the issue worsens, we have to wonder, how do urban dwellers cope?
Beyond those stylish SARS-style masks, the Chinese are starting to get pretty creative in their ideas:
Smog-killing bicycles. A British artist living in Beijing has created a prototype for a bicycle that “eats” smog using a gas mask and air filter. (See video above.) No word on when – or if – this incredible idea might take off.
A giant electromagnetic vacuum. A Dutch designer has developed an "electronic vacuum cleaner" to remove smog from city skies. It uses buried coils of copper to create an electrostatic field, which draws in smog particles to create areas of clean air around it. The designer is currently working with the mayor of Beijing to use the technology in a new park in the city. (See video above.)
Weather modification. The Chinese government claims they’ve successfully modified the weather on certain days. How exactly? By shooting rockets into the sky and inducing rain showers, which help to clear the smog – temporarily. (See video above.)
And, when all else fails…
Filtered nose plugs. Shanghai residents have apparently gotten so fed up with the smog, they’ve started using nose plugs with miniature air filters. And, when those aren’t available, some are trying good old fashioned cigarette butts. (Which, according to the New York Times, does not actually work.)
Here's hoping that the giant vacuum or smog-killing bike idea actually makes a bit of difference for the Chinese. Even if the ideas go nowhere, we're sure that they'll kickstart the kind of innovation that's required to solve this problem for good.