Story By: Bartosz Staszewski, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
Scientists have developed new smog-busting pavements which they claim can reduce pollution in traffic-choked cities by as much as 70 percent.
Researchers claim the new concrete pavements, currently being tested in the Polish capital city of Warsaw, clean the air by absorbing the toxic emissions from vehicles like a sponge.
They are made using a special concrete with photocatalytic properties which reacts with the sun’s rays to break down the harmful compounds in pollution that are absorbed into the concrete.
These include nitrogen oxides (NOx) that become harmless nitrogen compounds, similar to those used for fertilising plants, which are then washed away into the ground with rainwater.
An additional advantage of the concrete pavement is that the process means it is self-cleaning.
The new pavement is being used for the new Generation Park office complex currently under construction in the city. They have also been laid in Warsaw’s Wola district.
The project has been successfully tested for nine months in both laboratory and urban conditions with various levels of car traffic.
Przemyslaw Malinowski, special products manager for the Gorazdze Group behind the product, told Central European News (CEN) he believed it would be rolled out throughout Europe.
He said: “This innovative product can become a very effective tool in the fight for cleaner air and a better quality of life in the city.”
During the tests, data from special measuring stations compared the level of air pollution in areas where the new pavements had been laid to areas where they had not.
The results revealed that there was a 30-percent lower concentration of nitrogen oxides in the area where the anti-smog pavements had been installed.
And scientists believe the results will be even more impressive in the fight against Warsaw’s notorious smog when more green pavements are laid. In the lab, NOx levels were reduced by up to 70 percent.
The Generation Park tower will be equipped with a permanent measuring station that will continuously examine the concentration of pollutants in the air.
Air pollution causes as many as 47,500 premature deaths in Poland every year, the European Environment Agency (EEA) has warned.
NOx is a generic term for the nitrogen oxides, nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which cause air pollution and contribute to the formation of smog and acid rain.