London Sticks It To the Fog: Getting Rid of Air Pollution with Glue
Pollution is a global problem that is growing rapidly, but unfortunately is often disregarded by governments and individuals alike. Many of us are aware of the negative effects of pollution and even make efforts to prevent or overcome the problem. Although many of the cities most affected by this problem, such as Los Angeles, have taken some action against pollution, London has developed a new way to deal with this sticky problem.
London is approaching their pollution problem by targeting the elimination of PM10s, tiny sooty particles that are released via exhaust fumes as well as tire and brake wear. PM10s not only are bad agents that contribute to the growing pollution problem in the city, but they also can cause serious health conditions to people that may unintentionally inhale them. PM10’s have been linked to asthma, cardiovascular and respiratory problems and even premature death.
The mayor of the large city, Boris Johnson, supports a new effort that consists of spraying a calcium and water-based adhesive on the streets in specific areas that have been identified as areas with the highest rates of air pollution.
The process begins promptly at midnight on the streets of London and carries through the night until 6:00 a.m. First the streets are swept and jet-washed with a machine similar to a street sweeper and then the solution is dispersed by a different machine in a sprinkler-like manner. Once it settles, the adhesive is hardly visible or noticeable at all.
Although the effort has decreased the levels of pollutants in the air by 14 percent, many scientists do not support the idea because they do not see the effects of it being beneficial enough to justify the $1.4 million cost. Regardless of the high price, Johnson and many other city officials see the decrease in pollutants as a success and the city is currently trying be in compliance with a set of European Union standards that require less than 35 “bad air” days per year. Unfortunately, if the standards are not met by 2012, the city could face fines of more than $450 million.
The glue approach is a small but effective way that the city of London is attacking this growing pollution problem. Hopefully this inspires and promotes the fight against world wide pollution not only in European countries but internationally.
Photo credit: Chris L L