Reports have revealed that China has built a 328 feet-high tower to combat air pollution and improve air quality.
Taller Than Statue Of Liberty
The so-called "world's biggest air purifier" is taller than the Statue of Liberty, which measures just over 305 feet from the base of the pedestal foundation to the tip of the torch.
It was built in Xian, the capital of Shaanxi province. The city experiences extreme pollution during winter due to the heating systems' reliance on coal.
Improvements In Air Quality
Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Earth Environment are currently conducting tests on the experimental tower.
Head of research Cao Junji said that they have so far observed improvements in air quality over an area of 3.86 square miles in the city over the past few months.
Cao and his team have set up over a dozen pollution monitoring stations in the area to test the impact of the tower on air quality. On severely polluted days, the researchers claimed that the tower managed to reduce the smog close to moderate levels.
The average reduction in PM2.5, the fine particles in smog that are harmful to health, dropped 15 percent during heavy pollution. PM2.5 concentration levels in Xian, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou in the East Asian nation exceed the World Health Organisation air quality guidelines.
"PM2.5 concentration levels have particularly endangered public health in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xi'an," environmental organization Greenpeace said. "This means higher health risks to the cardiovascular system, cerebrovascular system and an increase in the probability of cancer and premature death."
Locals appear to feel the impact of the tower. A student at Shaanxi Normal University, which lies near the tower, said that the improvement in air quality was quite noticeable.
"The air quality did improve. I have no doubt about that," she said.
Experiments are still ongoing though. The researchers plan to release more detailed data in March.
How The Xian Tower Works
The base of the tower, which is about half the size of a football field, is consist of greenhouses that absorb polluted air that is then heated up by solar power. The rising hot air goes through several layers of cleaning filters as it goes up through the tower.
Cao said that the tower requires very little power to run as it relies on solar energy. Coatings on the greenhouses also enable the glass to more efficiently absorb solar radiation so the system still works even in cold months.