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07/23/2013

Mexico's 'smog-eating' building

A modern Mexico City hospital with a decorative facade not only looks pretty but cleans the air. Believe it or not, the space-age materials used in the facade neutralize the smog equivalent of 1,000 vehicles. Here's a CNN report about the building, the Manuel Gea González Hospital. Designed by a Berlin firm, Elegant Embellishments, the molded modules on the exterior are made of a special pigment that when hit by ambient ultraviolet light break down air pollutants into carbon dioxide, water and other less noxious compounds. According to this Bloomberg report, this is the Berlin company's first project but it hopes other buildings and garages will use the technology, either in air-purifying paints or special modules, to reduce smog.  

The firm's depolluting facades aren't the only smog munching walls in Mexico City. Check out these photos of vertical gardens that have gone up around the city. The gardens absorb noise, take heavy metals and pollutants out of the air and add green to the urban landscape. At least three are up in Mexico City, maybe five. Personally I can't figure out how the plants get cared for 30 and 40 feet up in the air. As one who does not have a green thumb (I can even kill cactus), my hat is off to the group behind these gardens, VERDMX.

Item: I'm taking off on vacation tomorrow so this is likely the last blog posting until after my return Aug. 11. Hasta luego!

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Elizabeth Cox

That's interesting. Wondering if we can have that in our place.

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Tim

This blog is written by Tim Johnson, the Mexico bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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