A former United States Environmental Protection Agency staff member and research physical scientist proposed an interesting solution to China’s increasing and record-breaking air pollution.
Dr. Yu Shaocai suggests giant sprinklers on skyscrapers or “wet deposition” – a process by which raindrops and snowflakes deposit polluted particles on the ground and clean the air - can be one of the potential permanent solutions to heavy smog in megacities.
Pollution in China has been reaching intolerable levels over the last couple of years and it is still on the rise due to coal burning, car exhaust fumes, factories and weather patterns.
However, the Chinese government has done little to tackle the situation. In January 2013, air pollution in Beijing reached hazardous levels and though China promised emergency measures to control it. Midyear still saw more promises and no action.
The scientist claims his study report is based on theory, however, he still has to carry out tests once he returns from the U.S. to China. He is also working on designs to come up with a suitable water-delivery system to successfully implement the scheme.
"We will do some tests in Zhejiang University campus first and then Hangzhou city if everything goes well," he told South China Morning Post. "If we are successful, our work can be followed by the other cities in China and around the world."
Dr Chan Chak-keung, a Hong Kong University of Science and Technology professor, says Yu's proposal is "interesting" but he has reservations regarding the water consumption in the plan.
"Where will we find that much water? You could recycle the water, but that itself is a challenging task," he told SCMP. "If I spray water from the roof, what about pollution above the roof? Assuming his team can find a system that works, and they've done enough economic analysis and considered the handling of water resources, this could be a viable option.
"I would also recommend he considers spraying water right at the street level, especially along heavy traffic roads," Chan said.
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Do you think giant sprinklers are a viable solution to China’s increasing smog problem? You can share your answers in the comments section below.