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July 16th, 2013:

Dutch Scientists Invent Smog-Eating Pavement to Help Clean the Air

Dutch Scientists Invent Smog-Eating Pavement to Help Clean the Air

by Morgana Matus, 07/10/13

filed under: Air quality, clean tech, Design for Health

Road pavement, road, pavement, pavement closeup, smog-eating pavementPhoto via Shutterstock

In urban areas, both smog and pavement seem to dominate the landscape. While the two may seem like separate and distinct elements of the city ecosystem, the air and ground could potentially be linked together to help reduce overall pollution. Dutch scientists from the Eindhoven University of Technology have invented a new method to clear the atmosphere by treating paving blocks with titanium oxide. The special “photocatalytic pavement” was amazingly able to cut smog in half compared to a control.

smog, air pollution, urban, eindhoven university of technology, pavement, road

Over the course of a year in the city of Hengelo in the Netherlands, researchers found that the pavement was able to reduce smog by 45 percent in ideal conditions, and 19 percent throughout the day. By coating paving blocks in titanium oxide, the pavement pulls harmful nitrogen oxides out of the air and converts them into less dangerous chemicals such as nitrates. The team published their findings in the June edition of the Journal of Hazardous Materials.

Although the technology has previously been introduced in 2008 by the Italian company, Italcementi, the research from the Netherlands is helping to increase the visibility and momentum of a novel new remediation technique. The catalysts do tend to become less effective over time, and cost about 10 percent more than conventional cement. While the invention is not a substitute for the overall reduction of air pollution, it has the potential for helping to curb a great deal of car and industrial emissions in areas most burdened by bad air.

+ Eindhoven University of Technology

10,000 join protest against Guangzhou refuse incinerator

Tuesday, 16 July, 2013, 12:00am


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Some of the thousands of residents who protested against the plan for a refuse incinerator in Huadu district. Photo: SCMP



Mimi Lau in Guangzhou

Demonstrators march to township government offices to voice concern that plan will worsen pollution in leather-goods manufacturing centre

About 10,000 people gathered yesterday in a township under Huadu district, Guangzhou, to demonstrate against plans to build a refuse incinerator in the national hub for leather-goods manufacturing.

The demonstration, approved by Shiling township officials, began at around 3pm at the Qianjin village committee office, with about 3,000 participants.

More people joined as protesters marched along main roads in Shiling to the local government offices. Some witnesses put the total number of protesters at between 8,000 and 20,000, while the organiser said at least 10,000 people showed up.

Nearly 1,000 armed police officers were seen clearing the way for demonstrators, many of whom carried colourful flags and large banners criticising the incinerator plan. The sea of people appeared to stretch about a kilometre along the roads.

We are all very upset. The incinerator is only 500 metres from my home. I have two children and I don’t want them to develop health problems in a few years

“We are all very upset. The incinerator is only 500 metres from my home. I have two children and I don’t want them to develop health problems in a few years,” said a 33-year-old father of two who grew up in Qianjin, which he said has about 500 residents. “Over half of the world’s handbags are made here – Shiling is polluted enough and can’t handle an incinerator.”

This was the second related protest in Shiling, following one on Saturday that drew only about 100 people. Shiling has about 300,000 residents.

Last week, Huadu officials announced a timetable for the incinerator, after saying late last month that it would be located in Qianjin. The project is expected to be finalised on August 30, with an environmental assessment ready in February, and construction to start in June next year.

“Police didn’t hurt anyone today – they were protecting women and the elderly, and keeping things in order,” said a 26-year-old Shiling resident.

At least 5,000 flags were passed out for the protest, which peacefully dispersed after reaching the township government offices at around 6pm.

The protest organiser, a 45-year-old Qianjin villager who declined to be named, said the demonstration was discussed with Shiling officials last week. “We will give Shiling officials a few days to address our concerns, but if there is no reply, we will head to Huadu district authorities and eventually the Guangzhou city government,” he said.

Last summer, hundreds of residents of Qingyuan and Guangzhou took to the streets to protest against the project even before site details were announced. It was one of the largest protests against government plans to build incinerators in Guangzhou.

By 2015, Guangzhou plans to build five new garbage incinerators, in addition to the existing one in Likeng in Baiyun district.

The Likeng incinerator handles 1,000 tonnes of refuse a day. Most of the rest of the 18,000 tonnes of waste the city produces each day ends up in landfills which, according to the Southern Metropolis Daily, already contained 40 million tonnes last year.

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