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‘Smog Vacuum Cleaner’ to Turn Krakow’s Pollution Into Jewellery

But the Smog Free Tower is unlikely to solve Poland’s pollution problem, caused by its heavy reliance on coal.

26 January 2018

The Smog Free Tower, created by Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde, will soon start cleaning the air in Krakow’s Park Jordana, Inhabitat reports.


The designer describes his tower as “the world's first smog vacuum cleaner.” The construction is a tower measuring seven meters (23 feet) that uses patented, positive ionization technology to suck fine particles out of the surrounding air. The smog particles are then compressed into rings of Roosegaarde’s design.


A Smog Free Tower has previously been installed in Beijing, China. China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection determined that the air around the tower was indeed some 55 percent cleaner than before its installation, according to Inhabitat.


A Smog Free Tower. Image via Studio Roosegaarde/Facebook.


However, as Studio Roosegaarde notes on its website, the tower provides only a “local solution” for smog, for example in parks, by cleaning the air in their immediate vicinity.


Even so, anything can help in Poland, where air pollution remains a serious problem. Out of Europe’s 50 most polluted cities, 33 lie in Poland, says Euronews. Located in southern Poland, which has the worst air quality in the country, Krakow is notorious for its smog. 


The main cause of this pollution is Poland’s heavy use of fossil energy sources, above all coal.   The country is Europe’s largest hard coal producer, and more than 80 percent of electric power is produced by coal-fired power plants, according to the statistics of Euracoal, an umbrella organization of the European coal industry.


Poland has no nuclear power plants at the moment, but is considering building one in an effort to comply with EU regulations about carbon emissions.


One reason that makes it difficult for Poland to scale down its coal mining activity is the thousands of jobs that are at stake. In 2015, almost 100,000 people were employed in the Polish coal mining industry, says Euracoal.



  • One of the electoral promises of the ruling Law and Justice Party during their successful campaign for the 2015 parliamentary elections was protecting the coal mining industry and its workers, according to Reuters.


  • In addition to the Smog Free Tower, Studio Roosegaarde has developed a Smog Free Bicycle. During usage, the bike inhales polluted air, cleans it, and then releases it again.

Compiled by Wasse Jonkhans

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The Moldovan Diaries is a multimedia, interactive examination of the country's ethnic, religious, social and political identities by Paolo Paterlini and Cesare De Giglio.

This innovative approach to story telling gives voice to ordinary people and takes the reader on the virtual trip across Moldovan rural and urban landscapes. 

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