Last winter, smog levels in Beijing, China were found to be 10 to 15 times what the World Health Organization classifies as a health risk. The streets are still overflowing with people wearing gas masks and respirators, and city officials recently announced a fuel pollution tax to help curb emissions. Yu Shaocai, an expert on “wet deposition”, recently proposed a radical new solution that could help clear the air: giant sprinklers that spray water into the atmosphere of heavily-polluted cities.
Yu Shaocai, a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency employee, and an expert on “web deposition” proposed a solution which is based on a valid natural occurrence. “Wet deposition” is a process by which raindrops and snowflakes deposit polluted particles on the ground and clean the air. Shaocai’s idea is to create a new urban infrastructure and attached the giant sprinklers to the exteriors of skyscrapers in order to clear out toxins and gases from the air.
Shoicai doesn’t have specific answers to some of the technical questions. Installing giant sprinklers would involve a costly process of retrofitting skyscrapers with necessary equipment, not to mention the safety measures during storms and strong winds. The proposal is a theoretical paper, published in the January issue of Environmental Chemistry Letters, which Shaocai plans to test at Zhejiang University and in Hangzhou.
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