March 16, 2014 – I have written several blog postings about China’s enormous problem with urban smog. It is so bad at times that the government has been forced to declare war on polluters and pollution. One of those weapons in this war is an aerial robot according to reports in the South China Morning Post last week.
The government has contracted Aviation Industry Corporation of China to design and build a drone capable of distilling fine pollutants from the air. The device combines a parafoil wing with a suspended powered vehicle capable of carrying up to 700 kilograms (1,543 pounds) of smog-clearing chemicals on board. When sprayed over a five kilometer radius the chemicals would freeze out particulate matter in the air causing it to fall to the ground.
In 2013 at times more than 15% of the country was blanketed in a heavy smog containing particulate matter (PM) 2.5 microns in size. The World Health Organization considers this level of pollution to be a public health threat to all who are exposed to it. And the Chinese government is getting an earful from its own urban citizens on publicly sanctioned social networks complaining of the lack of action in dealing with pervasive smog. Recent studies indicate that the PM levels in China’s northeast are reducing average life expectancy by as much as three years.