Smog on a typical day in Xi’an, located in Shaanxi province. (Image credit: Shwangtianyuan via Wikipedia)


It’s no secret China has cities shrouded in smog, so much so that pollution from mainland China has forced western cities in Japan to issue health warnings and has even been detected as far away as California. While that may seem terrible in terms of health hazards, China, is in fact, not the most significant smog producer in the world- Pakistan takes that honor with an average PM (Particulate Matter or pollutants in the air) concentration of 115.7, followed by Qatar (92.4 PM), Afghanistan (86 PM) and Bangladesh (83.3 PM). China ranks in at 13th place (41.4 PM).


There’s no easy way to remove air pollution beyond regulating emissions, but one town located in Shaanxi province seems to have found a way- by using the world’s tallest air purifier. According to the South China Morning Post, the experimental 328-foot tower has brought a noticeable improvement in air quality in the city of Xi’an. Researchers from the Institute of Earth Environment at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have conducted experiments and found that the air quality in an area of 10-square kilometers around the tower has improved.


Moreover, the tower is capable of producing 353 cubic feet of clean air a day, reducing heavy smog days to moderate levels. The system works using greenhouses (covering half the size of a soccer field) positioned around the base of the tower. Polluted air is then drawn into the greenhouses where the air is then heated by solar energy. That heated air then rises through the tower, passing through multiple filters and later released back into the atmosphere- resulting in a reduction of 2.5 PM in air pollution. That’s the claim anyway.


No other information beyond what the South China Morning Post reported can be found, even from the Institute of Earth Environment, so take that info with a grain of salt. That being said, China’s government has recently reported that the air quality is improving with low levels of feared 2.5 PM of particles stating, “It's a new reality for the population, who were used to wearing masks and turning on air purifiers by this time last year.”


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