Pollution-absorbing buildings may save cities

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

pollution buildings
The Manuel Gea González Hospital in Mexico City not only heals people inside its walls, but helps citizens outside by absorbing pollution with its outer walls.

As air pollution becomes an increasingly serious global threat, with over half of Americans exposed to unhealthy air, medical professionals and environmentalists are researching some rather… unconventional solutions.

See, the toxic chemicals spewed by factories and cars are major contributors to the dangerous levels of smog filling cities, and the World Health Organization says that air pollution is responsible for about 7 million deaths each year.

Now, a unique solution developed by architects and scientists just might save cities, as pollution-absorbing buildings are eating up all the nasty nearby air! That’s great news, because over half of 1,600 cities surveyed in a study are above safe limits of Particulate Matter (PM), the tiny particles that can damage our lungs when breathed in.

Those PM levels can be reduced by surprisingly affordable construction materials. For example, the Manuel Gea González Hospital in Mexico City is covered in 2,500 square meters of a smog-eating coating. It reacts to light by neutralizing air pollution, and its designers claim that it undoes the effects of 1,000 cars a day!

Then, in Italy, the Palazzo Italia offers 13,000 square meters of anti-pollution material. Dutch scientists have even adapted this incredible stuff to roads, and say that it can reduce surrounding pollution by 45%.

Featured image courtesy of Nemesi & Partners. Image of Manuel Gea González Hospital courtesy of Elegant Embellishments.