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Saturday, February 24, 2024

United States. Smog-eating sidewalks versus air pollution

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Utah is looking for ways to combat air pollution. The technology of “smog-eating” sidewalks aroused considerable interest in the local media. It uses titanium dioxide as a catalyst for the breakdown of chemical compounds. However, implementing this solution in Utah may prove difficult.

In winter, temperature inversion often occurs over Utah in the United States – a layer of warm air “traps” the colder air. Many of the state’s cities, including its capital Salt Lake City, are located in valleys and basins, which favor inversion. In such a situation, air movement turns out to be virtually impossible, and the emitted air pollutants have no way to dissipate and accumulate over the city. The state authorities are looking for ways to combat the nuisance smog.

Cleaner, cooler air

The technology of “smog-eating” sidewalks caught the attention of local media. Its heart is titanium dioxide, which, under the influence of sunlight, acts as a catalyst for the decomposition of gaseous air pollutants. The sidewalks are enriched with a thin layer of a preparation containing this compound, giving it a characteristic gray color.

Utah is not the first place in the United States to use the technology. A study conducted in Raleigh, North Carolina, found that the use of the technology could reduce air pollution by at least 28 percent. In Phoenix, Arizona, technology was used to cool sidewalks – gray pavements absorbed less heat on hot days.

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However, implementing the solution in Utah may be quite a challenge. As Amanda Bordelon of Utah Valley University explained, “smog-eating” sidewalks have already been tested in the state, but did not perform well in its dry climate. “We proved that the tested product was effective, but its biggest drawback was the fact that it worked most efficiently in humid conditions,” she said in an interview with KSL television.

Smog over Salt Lake CityShutterstock

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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