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Exclusive News Sci-Tech

Smog eating building in Mexico City

Mexico City, July 24 (): A hospital building in Mexico City has a very unique feature, it ‘eats’ smog and saves the environment. The frontage is coated with a special material that breaks down pollutants into less harmful substances.

The hospital building is coated with a formula called “titanium dioxide”. When the UV rays of the sun hit the building, the reaction breaks down pollutants in the surrounding air into harmless compounds like water and carbon dioxide. The designers say it neutralizes the effect of 1,000 cars a day.

Twenty years ago, the air in Mexico City was so badly polluted and was considered the worst in the world. Traffic remained a major problem in Mexico City. One day, birds fell dead out of the sky due to the polluted air. Since then, the city has been working to clean up the air. Streets are still congested with carbon-emitting vehicles, but one new building can counteract the effect of 1,000 cars.

The design of the building came from scientists in Berlin, Germany. Using titanium dioxide, the scientists developed a pigment that coats the tiles, or so-called modules. When pollutants come into contact with the modules, they are turned into compounds like water and carbon dioxide. The titanium dioxide itself remains unaffected, so it can keep making reactions happen.

The tile is the first product by Berlin-based design firm Elegant Embellishments. Daniel Schwaag, co-director of Elegant Establishments said the design was inspired by natural shapes. It was a kind of similar in appearance to corals. The photo catalytic reaction needs a maximum surface area and the natural forms of corals for example are very good at doing that.

Mexico was the first country to contract the project as part of a 20-billion dollar investment into health infrastructure.

Mexico City needs many buildings similar to these buildings to battle current air pollution levels. So far, there are 4.5 million registered cars in Mexico city. City officials say that number grows by 200,000 every year.