Damir Sagolj

The air quality is so bad in Beijing that people wear face masks on a regular basis, kids play under protective domes, and some bicycle riders rely on a 'breathing bicycle' that filters air to them while they ride.

While China is working to reduce its CO2 emissions, Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde is helping the country remove the pollutants now via the 'Smog Free Tower.' At 23-feet tall and placed between two smoke stacks in a former industrial zone, the tower is essentially a giant air purifier.

Roosegaarde told Motherboard that the air surrounding the tower has up to 70 percent fewer pollution particles after it’s been cleaned. And since installing the tower in Beijing, he reported to CNN that it collects in one day what it brought in over the course of two weeks of testing in the Netherlands.

The Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection is supporting Roosegaarde’s venture, and has asked him to take the tower on a tour of four other cities in the coming year. Roosegaarde hopes that this is only the beginning. He aims to install 800 of his towers in public parks across China, not only to create pockets of cleaner air, but to bring more awareness to what is admittedly a huge problem that a giant air purifier—or even 800 of them—can’t begin to solve.

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