Um, OK. I guess when things get really bad, policymakers get desperate. You’d think maybe that desperation would fuel more obvious reforms, like mandating cleaner gasoline or more fuel efficient cars, limiting urban growth or getting serious about carbon. But I can see how magic vacuum cleaners in the sky would be more attractive.
The city of Wuhan is considering building skyscrapers coated with a high-tech substance that can “eat” air pollutants. An artist is offering to suck particulates out of Beijing’s dirty skies using a giant vacuum-cleaner-type device and sell jewelry made with the collected contaminants. One researcher is suggesting an “urban wind passage” in the Chinese capital, regulating the height and density of buildings so that smog has a dispersal channel.Not a week seems to pass here without a news report on the latest whiz-bang proposal to help solve the country’s critical air pollution problem. Other recent ideas include sending drones aloft to freeze particulates and drop them to Earth, installing giant shower heads on top of buildings to literally wash the smog out of the air, or digging a 100-mile canal from Beijing to the sea to create a fresh-air corridor as water flows to the capital.