We know that China has a serious air pollution problem, caused largely by CO2 emissions. The government has promised to tackle the issue in the coming years, but some local councils have already started using a rather unconventional method of dispersing the smog: huge mist cannons.
The cannons are based on machines that blast away dust in factories and building sites. Manufactured by China-based company, Hunan Jiujiu Mining Safety Equipment, they were originally intended to reduce the risk of lung and respiratory problems for miners, but back in 2013, they started tweaking the machines for wider use and have been marketing them as pollution solutions to local government departments ever since.
The cannons work by nebulising liquid into tiny particles that are then sprayed into the air. On contact with harmful specks of dust, the liquid particles form water droplets that then fall to the ground like rain. According to the company, it can produce particles as small as 10 microns in size – while that’s not enough to capture all of the fine pollution in the air, it can make a difference.
Interested in picking one up? According to May Shi at Quartz, a cannon that can sit on the back of a truck and function while you drive around is going to set you back about 600,000 yuan (roughly US$92,700). Opt for a stationary one and the price drops to just 80,000 yuan ($12,400).
The local authorities are most definitely interested, with officials in the city of Guigang having ordered five machines to control dust and smog in the air. Other cities and authorities in Inner Mongolia have placed orders for the mist cannons too.
Executives at Hunan Jiujiu Mining Safety Equipment say sales have jumped as pollution levels have risen, though they won’t confirm exact numbers. Based on reports from satisfied customers, the cannons can get around town without affecting traffic and don’t leave large amounts of water on the ground.
The cannons are able to shoot spray across an area 100 metres wide and 60 metres high, and their added mobility means they can be moved to the most troublesome spots of a city, though some experts have questioned their long-term effectiveness, as reported by Gizmodo.
They do at least provide a small window of respite as Chinese authorities look to turn the tide of rising pollution levels.