The latest innovation of turning trash into treasure has been spotted in Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan District…on the city’s walls. Air-Ink, an oil-based pigment created from air pollutants into a useable paint, was given to nine artists to paint murals in the city. Now “pollutants which could have been in the lungs of millions of people are now beautifully resting as art.”
The product is the brainchild a “chronic inventor” and MIT scientist, Anirudh Sharma and corporate patron Tiger Beer. Using innovative technology they are turning carbon rich soot, a major byproduct of burning fossil fuels, into pigment used for paint, ink and spray paint. The soot undergoes a purification process that removes heavy metals and carcinogens. It is then blended with other materials, which turns it into a durable paint similar to any other that an artist would typically use. This innovation will have a huge impact on cities around the globe, as one Air-Ink pen can contain over two hours worth of pollutants.
For the last 150 years, we have burned fossil fuels creating smog and pollution. In cities like Hong Kong or New Delhi smog deters people from going outdoors and has a great affect on its inhabitants health. For example, New Delhi and its surrounding smaller cities have a reputation of having the dirtiest air in the world. In the latest, Global Burden of Disease Report it was noted that ambient air pollution was responsible for 586,788 pre-mature deaths in India. Air-Ink tackles this issue of pollution creatively like an artist would by repurposing the carbon soot and also shining the light on a very important global issue.
Being able to reduce transportation emissions is one of the most vital steps in fighting global warming. At India based Graviky Labs, Sharma’s team is able to extract a vehicle’s carbon emissions without compromising the performance of the vehicle which is revolutionary. The creation of these oil-based inks, paints and spray paints will bring artists one-step closer to changing the landscape of our cities by “painting with pollution”. Currently, Sharma and his team are experimenting with other applications of the purified carbon. He noted that one day we might even be able to create sculptures with it. Thanks to Air-Ink we can take action against air pollution by creating a beautiful artistic cityscape to enjoy together!
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