12 Wonderful (And Weird) Ways To Tackle Pollution in China

Pollution is one of the biggest problems facing China. From city-covering domes to ‘clean air’ bikes, numerous madcap solutions have been considered.

1. 1. Covering cities with huge bubble domes

In April London-based firm Orproject revealed the Bubbles project, which involved huge bubble-like structures filled with clean air. The idea was developed with the firm’s Beijing team.

2. They kind of remind us of The Simpsons Movie

The Simpsons Movie

3. 2. Encouraging everyone to wear face masks

These are all the rage in Chinese cities. However it’s been revealed that millions of them have no effective filters, basically making them a smog fashion accessory.

4. 3. … Or nose plugs

Last year traffic police in Shanghai were given anti-pollution nose filters, dubbed “invisible masks”, to protect them from car fumes. You can, of course, get more conspicuous nose filters, like this guy’s.

5. 4. … Or ‘air-cleaning’ bikes


In 2013 Beijing-based inventor Matt Hope unveiled a bicycle with a face mask attached, with the air filtered through it cleaned when you pedal. The bike cost 180 yuan ($29) and featured an Ikea bin as part of its filtration system.

6. 5. Sucking up smog with vacuum cleaners

Video available at: http://vimeo.com/77385126.
De Zeen

A vacuum cleaner that sucks up pollution was developed by Dutch designer Daan Rooseguard last year. It uses coils of copper to create an electrostatic field that attracts smog particles and, according to the developer, “Creates holes of 50-60 metres of clean air so you can see the sun again.” Rooseguard worked with the mayor of Beijing on the project.

7. 6. Putting sprinklers on top of skyscrapers

The idea, proposed by Shaocai Yu of Zhejiang University, is to get sprinklers on top of tall buildings to mimic natural rain that removes aerosol and gas pollutants.

8. 7. Freezing smog with paratrooper robots

Aviation Industry Corporation of China

Earlier this year the Aviation Industry Corporation of China announced plans to launch drones into the sky to tackle city smog. The drones freeze harmful particles with chemicals.

9. 8. Naming and shaming the most polluted cities

To try to force local governors to take more measures to curb pollution, the main Chinese government names and shames the worst cities for air pollutants each month.

10. 9. … And rewarding the least polluted cities

It’s not all negative – the government also gives financial rewards to regions that tackle pollution most effectively.

11. 10. Making everyone get cremated in reusable coffins

This might not solve the wider problem of pollution, but a Hong Kong company has come up with coffins featuring a reusable outer shell, reducing the amount of waste and time taken to burn. So people can be green to the end…

12. 11. Getting kids to learn anti-smog martial arts

South China Morning Post

A programme introduced in a Hebei school last December had kids learning “anti-smog martial arts”, including moves designed to make their lungs stronger to cope with pollution.

13. 12. Or just, you know, trying to properly reduce emissions from factories and cars…

In light of recent public anger the Chinese government has announced that it’s setting up a 10 billion yuan fund ($1.65 billion) to tackle pollution and is set to fine heavy-polluting companies. There will be subsidies for lower-emission vehicles and moves to use cleaner coal in factories. Well, it’s either that or the domes…

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