Indian Cities Should Take The Cue From This Smog-Eating Hospital In Mexico
When findings of international bodies, including the World Health Organization, started singling Mexico City out as the most-polluted city on the planet in the early 1990s, authorities were forced to take note and initiate action. Apparently, skies had become so poisonous that “birds dropped dead in flight”. But, by 2010, there was a total turnaround. According to a report by Washington Post, the city's "determined efforts to control auto emissions and other environmental effects of rapid urbanisation offer practical lessons to cities in China, India and other fast-growing countries”.
Soon, authorities will launch the ProAir programme, aimed at curbing air pollution. Under the $20-billion initiative to improve health infrastructure, a new façade for the existing The Manuel Gea González Hospital was built by Mexico’s health ministry. Soon, the building will earn itself the name of smog-eating hospital.
Elegant Embellishments, Berlin-based research and design-manufacturing studio, created a unique and beautiful 2,500-square-metre facade for the old hospital, using its 3D Prosolve 370e (PDF) modules, that would transform air pollutants into harmless chemicals.
“These modules are coated with a special pigment that, when hit by ambient ultraviolet light, reacts with urban air pollutants, breaking them down into less noxious compounds like carbon dioxide and water. The pigment itself remains unchanged, which means the modules can keep purifying the air for as long as a decade, or until their coating wears off,” says a Bloomberg report.
According to the estimates of Elegant Embellishments Co-Director Daniel Schwaag, the façade can neutralise roughly the same amount of smog produced each day by about 1,000 vehicles in Mexico City.
Innovative efforts such as these helped Mexico City cut its pollutants at least by half, Washington Post quoted Miguel Naranjo, a Panama City-based official of the UN Environment Program, as saying.
Developing countries such as China and India which have a lot in common with Mexico City can learn much from the city and its smog-eating structure. "They are having the same problems Mexico had in the past. They are growing faster than their capacity to adjust. They face a big challenge not to repeat the mistakes of Mexico," said Naranjo.