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London Uses Glue To Catch And Reduce Air Pollution

London smog

London has come up with a sticky solution for their sticky air pollution situation. Over the past several months, the city has captured air pollution particulates by spraying an adhesive on the ground in high pollution areas. So basically, they’re using glue to attract air pollution.

Mayor Boris Johnson has called them “wonderful contraptions”. The calcium-based adhesives are sprayed onto freshly swept and jetwashed roads through a fine sprinkler-like system, attracting tiny particles produced by tires, brake wear and exhaust fumes, all contributors to cardiovascular disease, asthma, and lung cancer.

While some are scoffing at the idea, particularly the $1.4 million cost behind it, officials at Transport for London say the concept has reduced air particulates by 14%.

The new scheme is part of a plan for the city to comply with new European Union standards, requiring countries to have 35 or less “bad air” days a year. If this goal isn’t met by 2012, cities could face fines upward of $450 million. Ouch. That $1.4 million cost isn’t looking so bad.

The glue is only being used in certain high pollution areas, covering about 19 miles worth of roadway. This is just one of many efforts put forth by Transport for London in an attempt to lower air pollution and green up the city. Remember that the Olympic Games are coming up in London, so no doubt the city wants to put its best foot forward in the lead-up.

Would you like to see this happen in your city? If this advances and the numbers are significant, it would be interesting to see if “glue roads” become a trend in New York, Los Angeles, Beijing, Sydney or other large metropolis areas.

Image CC licensed by Iain Buchanan: London Skyline From St. Pauls

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