Fight Air Pollution With Self-Cleaning Buildings

City Air Pollution

Target: U.S. President Barack Obama

Goal: Fund financial incentives to create self-cleaning buildings that don’t contribute to air pollution and climate change.

The grime that forms on buildings is converted to air pollution every time it’s exposed to sunlight, according to a new study by University of Toronto researchers. Pollutants from smog will cling onto buildings, but instead of staying there, the chemical reaction that occurs when it’s hit by sunlight puts that smog right back into the air.

This discovery gives environmentalists even more of a reason to advocate for self-cleaning buildings since the logical conclusion is that they will help to clean the very air around them, significantly reducing pollution in our most industrialized cities. With a simple coat of titanium dioxide covering small panels, sunlight creates a different chemical reaction that breaks down organic material and pollutants that create smog.

Installing some of these smog-eating panels is a win-win for building owners. Building maintenance costs are cut considerably as washing and re-painting become much less of an issue. Meanwhile, cities become safer, healthier places to work and the overall health of the workforce improves from not inhaling a bunch of air pollution every day. This will also be a significant help in the fight against climate change.

All that remains is to give building owners a little push. Creating and announcing financial incentives to install smog-eating panels could lead us to a future where cities clean up their own pollution, putting an end to a massive problem that once seemed insurmountable. Sign this petition to urge the White House to look into creating financial incentives for businesses to install pollution-killing panels on their buildings.


Dear President Obama,

Not long ago, it was discovered that buildings could be made to eliminate the pollutants that create smog with simple panels coated in titanium dioxide. The reaction when sunlight hits this substance creates free radicals that “eat” air pollution. The end result is that buildings that eliminate the air pollution that plagues cities and fuels climate change are a possibility.

You’ve proven to be an ally in the fight against climate change. Unfortunately, you’re constrained by pro-business politicians who are more concerned with how to maximize already obscene corporate profits than protecting people from the devastation likely to come from unchallenged pollution and global warming. However, businesses can save money by installing these panels as they keep the buildings from becoming grimy and reduce maintenance costs.

All that’s left is to raise awareness and perhaps further financial incentives. By giving tax breaks to businesses who install smog-eating panels, you would not only alert companies across the nation to the option, but give them even more of a reason to turn their buildings into pollution-killers.

You have the power to make the air of our cities clean for the first time in many decades. Please look into creating financial incentives for businesses to fight air pollution.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Damián Bakarcic

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