In recent days, it seems that Warsaw in Poland has become another city that features art projects specifically designed to clean the city air. One way this has been done through a giant mural painted by local artists which features special pigments that clean smog and are activated by the sun.
As part of a City-Forests campaign put on by the sportswear company, Converse, the mural was designed using photocatalytic paint. This type of paint has titanium dioxide, which attracts airborne pollutants that are then turned into innocuous nitrates – all through a chemical process that uses sunlight.
Because of this special feature, it’s reported that the mural can purify the surrounding air with the power akin to 720 trees! But the news gets even better since the campaign is reportedly trying to get the mural to several other countries and that would make it as efficient as 3,000 trees.
The mural in Warsaw was painted on the side of a popular metro shop. The design is that of a bunch of happy, smiling flowers that are intertwined with high rise buildings. The ones to design the picture were the two Polish artists, Maciek Polak and Dawid Ryski. However, the actual painting of the image was undertaken by the expert muralists through the local art hub, Good Looking Studio.
Painted in amongst the flowers was the positive message, “Create Together For Tomorrow.” Converse wanted to inspire others to change. Additionally, Converse wanted a happy design that made people feel at ease during their daily commutes post coronavirus lockdown.
But there are other cities that are set to create 13 City-Forests murals, like Belgrade, Lima, Sydney, Jakarta, Manila, Sao Paulo, Santiago, Johannesburg, Melbourne, Bogota, and Panama City. However, after Bangkok, Thailand, Warsaw is actually the second city to complete the clean-air mural.
While Converse has been using special paints in order to clean the air, there are others who’ve taken to using these paints in their own projects. When Dutch designer Studio Roosegaarde created a bunch of billboards in Monterrey, Mexico, they used the same exact photocatalytic paint. Each of these billboards in Monterrey can produce the same amount of clean air every six hours with the power of 30 trees. Furthermore, the function of the billboards can be useful for up to 5 years, helping to tackle the pollution that happens in the Mexican valley.
Daan Roosegaarde, the one behind the billboards, is also an experienced designer in smog-free projects. He also produced the world’s largest air purifier for the city of Beijing. This air purifier can filter more than 30,000 cubic meters of clean air per hour. Plus, it transforms the pollutants into diamonds which are then sold to make other products.
Hopefully, more cities will begin to catch on and follow suit with more clean-air initiatives.
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.