A “Smog Free Tower” undergoing tests in Beijing’s famed 798 art zone has sparked controversy amid continuous heavy smog in the last couple of days.
The seven-meter-high metal structure, designed by Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde and introduced to the Chinese capital as the world’s largest air purifier in late September, opened for testing and adjustment recently.
The tower boasts a capacity to purify 30,000 cubic meters of air per hour and an ability to capture at least 75 percent of PM 2.5 and PM 10 particles, creating a fresh-air area around the tower, China Youth Daily reported.
The designer also said that particles collected by the tower could be processed into black gems.
Some experts questioned the usefulness of the newly-installed air purifying tower. According to calculations by an expert, it can absorb merely 4.5 grams of PM 2.5 an hour on heavy pollution days, which is less than the equivalent of a spoonful of salt, the paper reported.
“It would work better to have the construction site covered by a piece of cloth,” the expert joked.
In other cities, various facilities aimed to combat smog have also been installed. “Perhaps people are desperate about combating smog,” commented He Jijiang of Tsinghua University.
But those smog-treating facilities are only experimental and cannot solve the fundamental problems, He said.
Beijing was again shrouded in smog, with particle concentration in the air continuing to rise from midday on Tuesday, and the heavy pollution had lasted 19 hours as of midday Wednesday.
Six of the capital’s monitoring sites reported heavy pollution, which continued to worsen, prompting the Beijing Meteorological Service to issue a yellow alert for air pollution on Wednesday, the fifth of its kind since the beginning of October.