Beautiful Mural in Warsaw Eats Up Smog, Purifying The Air Equal to 720 Trees

August 19, 2020
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Warsaw, Poland became the latest city to feature public art projects that also clean city air, as a giant mural made of special, sun-activated, smog-cleaning pigments was painted by local artists.

Organized by the sportswear company Converse as part of their City-Forests campaign, the mural was produced using photocatalytic paint with titanium dioxide that attracts airborne pollutants before converting them into harmless nitrates through a chemical process involving sunlight.

Through this process the mural reportedly purifies the surrounding air equal to 720 trees, and when the campaign is finished, the murals spread across several countries should be doing the work of 3,000.

The mural was erected on a building facing a popular metro stop and features a collection of smiling flowers entangled among high rise buildings. Polish artists Maciek Polak and Dawid Ryski designed the image, which was executed by the local artist hub Good Looking Studio, involving expert muralists.

Amid the flowers are the words “Create Together For Tomorrow,” a positive message to inspire change, which Converse officials feel will help welcome people who are returning to their daily commutes after periods of COVID-19 isolation.

“…for the time being everything has slowed down. At Converse we saw this as an opportunity to speak up and help produce fresh air through painting murals,” said a spokesman.

A global movement

After Bangkok in Thailand, Warsaw represents the second city to finish a mural, among 13 set to erect the City-Forests murals—Belgrade, Lima, Sydney, Jakarta, Manila, Sao Paulo, Santiago, Johannesburg, Melbourne, Bogota, and Panama City.

However, Converse is not the only ones using these special paints to clean the air. Dutch designer Studio Roosegaarde erected a series of billboards in Monterrey, Mexico, which use the same photocatalytic paint as the artwork in Warsaw.

Each billboard there generates the same amount of clean air as 30 trees every 6 hours—and it can function for up to five years—tackling some of the pollution that gets lodged in the Mexican valley, beyond the reach of strong wind currents.

Daan Roosegaarde, the mastermind behind the billboards, is an expert with smog-free design projects. For Beijing, he produced the world’s largest air purifier, which filters 30,000 cubic meters of clean air per hour — and turns the pollutants into literal diamonds that are then sold to pay for the construction of new devices.

Unsurprisingly, the Dutchmen is a cyclist at heart, and hopes his devices can make Beijing a cycling city once again.

“Beijing used to be an iconic bicycle city,” said Roosegaarde. “Together with Chinese and Dutch expertise we will bring back the bicycle as a cultural icon of China and as the next step towards smog free cities.”

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