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Purifying Horizons: How the Smog-Free Tower Redefines Urban Sustainability

Madhulika Jadon

In the relentless pursuit of progress and urbanization, our cities have often been shrouded in a gray cloud of pollution. World Health Organization (WHO) data shows that almost all of the global population (99%) breathes air that exceeds WHO guideline limits and contains high levels of pollutants, with low- and middle-income countries suffering from the highest exposures. According to the WHO, ambient (outdoor) air pollution in both urban and rural areas was estimated to cause 4.2 million premature deaths worldwide in 2019. Air pollution has been consistently linked to a range of health issues, including respiratory diseases, heart problems, and even premature death. Cities, often seen as epicenters of progress, have been grappling with the unintended consequences of poor air quality. On a bad day, inhaling the smog in central London is roughly equivalent to smoking 70 cigarettes.

As the urban population continues to grow, so does the magnitude of this problem. This has paved the way for innovative solutions that combine art, science, and technology to create impactful change. One of these is the Smog-Free Tower, a groundbreaking innovation that has captured attention and admiration. Developed by artist and innovator Daan Roosegaarde and his team, this tower stands at an impressive 7 meters in height and uses only 1,170 watts of electricity to power the vacuum. Recent Smog-Free Towers have been launched in cities such as Tianjin, Dalian, and Beijing in China, Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and Poland.

The Smog-Free Tower is a testament to human ingenuity, combining art and technology to address the challenge of urban air pollution. The tower operates on a simple yet effective principle: it draws in polluted air, filters out particulate matter, and releases clean air back into the environment. Roosegaarde compares it to a giant vacuum cleaner while stating that it pulls 30,000 cubic meters of smog particles out of the air per hour. The sucking tower absorbs the smog from the volume of a football stadium within a day and a half and creates, depending on the air circulation, up to 70% clean air. Its elegant design and towering presence make it a striking addition to cityscapes, not only serving as a functional air purifier but also as a powerful symbol of progress battling the climate crisis.

At the heart of the Smog-Free Tower is its innovative air purification technology. The tower employs a process called ionization to create an electrostatic field that attracts and captures airborne pollutants. The collected particles are then compressed and processed to create pieces of jewelry, aptly named "Smog-Free Rings," which serve as tangible reminders of the tower's impact and also help in funding this project. Each ring is equivalent to 1000m³ of clean air. The filigree Smog-Free Rings cost 250 euros each.

The environmental impact of the Smog-Free Tower cannot be overstated. By removing large amounts of particulate matter from the air, it helps reduce the immediate health risks associated with poor air quality. Additionally, by transforming the captured pollutants into jewelry, the project raises awareness about the air pollution issue.

Beyond its tangible benefits, the Smog-Free Tower serves as a powerful symbol of what humanity can achieve through innovation, collaboration, and a shared commitment to sustainability. The tower doesn't just clean the air; it cleanses our perspective on the challenges we face and encourages us to see problems as opportunities for creative solutions.

The Smog-Free Tower stands as a beacon of innovation and inspiration in the fight against urban air pollution. It beautifully illustrates the harmony that can be achieved when art, science, and technology converge to address pressing environmental issues. As our cities continue to evolve, solutions like the Smog-Free Tower remind us that we have the power to shape a cleaner and healthier future for generations to come.


  1. Jincy Iype, “Designing breathable cities: Smog Free Project by Daan Roosegaarde”, stirworld,

  2. Katharina Finke, “The Smog Free Tower: Less CO2 in the city”, seventeen goals Magazin,

  3. “Air Pollution Solutions: What is The Smog Free Project”, Pollution Solutions Online,

  4. “Air pollution”, World Health Organization,

  5. “Ambient (outdoor) air pollution”, World Health Organization


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