Half Bench, Half Tree, This May Be The Air Pollution Solution Cities Have Been Waiting For

CityTrees could help reduce the air pollution of some the world's smoggiest cities.

Air pollution is a problem, especially in large, heavily populated cities. Thankfully, German tech startup Green City Solutions might have the answer to combating the rising air pollution in population-dense cities with the introduction of its CityTrees.


City dwellers passing by CityTrees might think they're just another typical bench or kiosk on the street. What they may fail to realize, though, is that they're walking past something that could have a benefit equal to that of a small forest. Green City Solutions claims that one CityTree can filter up to 265 tons of carbon dioxide a year, which is equal to the work of 275 real trees. The organization also claims that the "trees" can filter all the nitrogen dioxide and particulates that are found in city pollution. This is due to the structure including plants like moss and other plants, which naturally filter the air. The also tracks data on pollution and other environmental factors and includes solar panels that help power it. 

In other words, it's a true green machine.

According to Green City Solutions co-founder Zhengliang Wu, the CityTree is just beginning for the company. "Our ultimate goal is to incorporate technology from the CityTree into existing buildings," he said in a 2017 CNN article. "We dream of creating a climate infrastructure so we can regulate what kind of air and also what kind of temperature we have in a city."

The devices have been installed in a few European cities — including Paris, Oslo, Berlin, and Amsterdam — with London being the latest. The CityTree trial is part of a larger effort to clean up the city's act when it comes to air pollution.

"It is going to take a wide range of measures to tackle pollution in central London," said Councillor David Harvey, a cabinet member for the Environment, Sport and Community at Westminster City Council, in a statement. "The ten pledges set out in our Air Quality Agenda outlines policies to make a real difference - whether it's reducing the number of dirty journeys, introducing new cleaner technology or encouraging better habits – we want Westminster to be an example for cities across the world."

(H/T: IFLScience)

Cover image via Shutterstock / TaMaNKunG

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