Graffiti helps break down air pollution in Manilla

Street artists have created giant murals along Manila’s most congested highway that help deal with air pollution

Graffiti and pollution. Who would think one could be beneficial to help with the other?

The Filipino city of Manila is rated by the United Nations as one of the five most polluted cities in the world. Now street artists are creating massive-sized street murals that are literally helping clear the air.

Phillipines-based paint manufacturer Boysen has created a new paint that contains modified titanium dioxides, which are designed to break down toxic fumes into harmless substances.

Local and foreign artists were invited to create murals with unique paint

Titanium dioxide is used in standard paint but in this case its molecules are mcronized, which compresses them ten-fold, enhancing their ability to break down toxic substances when activated by light.

“It acts as a photo catalyst and, in the presence of sunlight or artificial lighting, it brings down noxious gases such as nitrogen dioxides and other VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the air,” said Patrick Negrete, Boysen Project Management Engineer.

Manila’s highway Epifanio delos Santos Avenue (EDSA) has the country’s highest traffic congestion, seeing over 2.5 million vehicles daily. The World Health Organization reports that the pollution generated there is three to four times greater than recommended safe levels.

Tests in Europe show this paint helps draw toxic fumes from the air

The city invited ten local and foreign artists to design murals covering the highway’s over 8,000 square meters of walls, columns and bridges, particularly for its choke points, where it narrows.

Tests in Manila and Europe’s busiest thoroughfares reported at least an 18 percent reduction of air pollutants using this unique distinctive green paint.

Art isn’t a complete solution, obviously. Greatly reducing traffic would have a larger and more definitive impact. But if colorful art can make some difference and brighten the lives of passers-by in the process, why not?

Creative artists at work along EDSA, Manilla’s most congested highway

The next time you open your garage doors to head out on the highway,  consider the idea of how this concept could work here in the U.S. Wouldn’t it be more pleasurable to see fun art along our highways than those dull gray-ish white or metal barriers that run for miles and miles?


One Response

  1. What an interesting and innovative way to combat air pollution!

    You’re right, it’s not a complete solution, but one that I hope other polluted cities, like London, would consider doing as well as reducing traffic flow and making better provision for cyclists.

    Hey – perhaps Manila could think about cycling provision, too.

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