By the end of 2017, bicycles equipped with air purifiers will be arriving in Chinese cities - a solution that tackles air pollution and helps decongest traffic.
Soon cycling will mean everyone can do something about urban air quality.We’re all familiar with images of Beijing suffocating under a thick layer of pollution. Nationally, this smog is thought to be responsible for the deaths of 1.6 million people every year - more than 4,000 a day.
Too many. And far too many for Daan Roosegaarde. In 2013, the Dutch designer and inventor, who divides his time between Rotterdam and Shanghai, decided it was time to act. His philosophy is based on using creativity to improve quality of life.
He designed the Smog Free Tower with that in mind. A gigantic installation using positive ionization technology that purifies up to 30,000 m3 of air per hour. Positioned in a public garden in Tianjin – another heavily polluted city - the tower keeps the air in the park 75% cleaner than the rest of the city.
But Daan Roosegaarde was frustrated by the static nature of his tower. He wanted to find a way to fight pollution all over the city. And the answer was bikes! An inspiration straight from his homeland where travel on two wheels is legion. And even better it’s a real Chinese passion too.
The anti-pollution bicycle prototype was launched in early 2017. The technology is the same as that used in the Smog Free Tower. An air purifier is fitted on the handlebars. When pedaling, the cyclist engages a mechanism that activates the filter. This then sucks in the polluted air, cleans it and blows clean air in the cyclist’s face.
Three opportunities in oneThe Dutch designer sees the invention as a three opportunities in one. It reduces pollution, decongests the city, and gives people living in polluted urban areas the opportunity to take up a physical outdoor activity without endangering their health.
To deploy his solution on a large-scale, in June 2017 Daan Roosegaarde announced a partnership with Ofo, a Chinese company that offers self-service bikes in 150 cities in China and has more than 20 million users. The anti-pollution bikes should be available by the end of the year.
Both partners are clear that it won’t solve the problem of pollution in China. But it’s a great way to raise awareness. Riding a bike will soon be a public service gesture that allows everyone to have a positive impact on the city’s air quality.
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