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Pollution-Eating Sidewalk Devours Bad Air

Yes, the pun absolutely was intended.

Silly jokes aside, a test in the Netherlands resulted in the creation of a pavement coating that actually reduces pollution nearly by half. For the past year, researchers have been fooling around with the idea that pavement can be used to solve the smog problem plaguing most major cities.


Image source: www.toistudio.com

The experimentation took place in Hengelo, Netherlands. Concrete blocks smothered in titanium oxide removed 19% of pollution NO and NO2 during the time period of a day, and up to 45% of pollution during the period of a day with normal weather patterns, such as low humidity and high radiation.

As one would expect, this new concrete will come at a premium cost, however, large cities battling overwhelming levels of pollution will likely jump at the chance to make their streets cleaner. Already, one heavily-trafficked street in Chicago has been using a version of this cement to combat pollution.


Image source: www.fastcoexist.com

For years now, scientists have searched for solutions to smog problems, and most of their research has resulted in expensive (and often times, silly) ideas that will take decades before the benefits justify the costs.

This cement isn’t for all cities, because of its price and manufacturing process, but it’s certainly a brilliant idea for metropolitan areas. It’ll be nice to walk down the street and know that the pavement you’re walking on is making the air cleaner around you.

As someone who grew up in a large, Canadian city with a reputed smog problem and constant bad-air warnings, I’d love to see this take off so my kids can avoid the same struggle in the near future.

Perhaps installed with smart sensors and data collecting abilities, the sidewalks could one day send information to your phone or glasses, letting you know just how much pollution it’s actually reducing on a day-to-day basis. Possibilities, possibilities . . .

Have a thought? Share it in the comments below.

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