The Dutch startup “Urban Reef” uses 3D printers with renewable materials to create sculptures that are planted with a variety of mosses, mushrooms, and other plants. These help clean the polluted air of big cities with their natural processes like photosynthesis. As of now the project is still in development but already shows promise as sustainable solutions for improving air quality are hard to come by. 

Amsterdam – Bio inclusivity is the word of the day. Cities have, ecologically speaking, come closer to deserts than any other biome they might have been built upon. Parking spaces, multilane highway systems and other concrete infrastructure have driven a large chunk of wildlife as far away from the city as possible. Despite the efforts of numerous city councils across the world, this model of car dependent cities and fossil fuelled economies has led to poor air quality reaching health endangering levels. 

Combating dangerous air pollution with “Urban Reefs” made of sustainable sculptures and plants

This is where urban reefs come in: the young studio based in the Netherlands has started up a variety of projects, promising improvements when it comes to air quality and biodiversity in cities. Similar to what reefs are for shallow ocean biomes, these urban reefs, are supposed to be an oasis for different species of plants and fungi. Sprinkling these reefs across cities would be a cheap and space efficient way of making cities more liveable. 

“I cannot reword”

The shift away from using concrete is significant due to the increasing scarcity of sand, which is a crucial component in concrete production. The construction industry has experienced a surge worldwide, leading to a shortage of suitable sand. It is important to note that not all types of sand can be utilized for industrial purposes, as desert and ocean sand are too fine in texture.

The increasing incidence of cancer in urban areas can be attributed to the presence of air pollution.

When discussing air pollution, it is crucial to differentiate between two types of particles: particular matter (pm) and coarse dust. Particular matter refers to particles that are up to 2.5 micrometres in size, while coarse dust encompasses particles up to 10 micrometres. The main concern regarding air pollution lies with particular matter, which is emitted by vehicles, tires, coal power plants, and various heating methods. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that prolonged exposure to high levels of air pollution, particularly particular matter, can significantly raise the chances of respiratory infections, heart disease, and lung cancer. 

The cause of air pollution is primarily cars, which not only burn fuel but also release small plastic particles into the air through tire wear. These particles can then enter our lungs. As a result, there is a significant demand for projects aimed at filtering out these particles from the air. Interestingly, plants are more efficient than humans at filtering these harmful microscopic particles, despite being exposed to the same pollution.