Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde’s Smog Free Tower is now open to the public in Beijing, the first of five Chinese cities on the Smog Free Project China tour. The Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection is backing the project, which launches today in the city center. Roosegaarde says the tour promotes the “dream of clean air and the beginning of a journey towards smarter cities.”
The artist behind the pollution-busting vacuum tower is on a mission to raise awareness of China’s dirty skies, while giving visitors a little memento to help remind them once the Smog Free Project leaves their city. Jewelry made from collected smog particles—including rings and cufflinks—will serve as lasting reminders of the educational installation.
The Smog Free Project began in Rotterdam in 2013, when Roosegaarde and his team first constructed a prototype of the Smog Free Tower. After a successful pilot program there, the tower is kicking off a global tour, beginning with one of the most polluted countries on Earth. The 23-foot tower sucks up polluted air and filters out smog particles before releasing clean air back into the environment. While operating, the Smog Free Tower creates a small fresh air zone, allowing city dwellers to experience—perhaps for the first time—the difference between the urban air quality they live with daily and fresh, smog-free air.
Although the Chinese government has been slow to respond to the growing air pollution problem in its urban centers, officials on deck for the Smog Free Project kickoff touted it as a step in the right direction. “This project is key in our agenda to promote clean air as a “green lifestyle” among Chinese citizens,” said Liu Guozheng, Secretary-General of The China Forum of Environmental Journalists. “Our goal is to guide the public to a healthier lifestyle, low carbon development and to raise awareness amongst the public and reduce smog.”
Images via Derrick Wang and Studio Roosegaarde