Those who grew up in 1970s America may remember a series of anti-pollution commercials featuring children's drawings. One of the grade-schoolers' wishes was for the invention of a large machine that would suck up smog like a vacuum cleaner. Even as a child, I remember thinking "Man that would never work!"
Luckily California-based Nectar, an engineering and design firm, did not share my pessimistic view and has been working on a similar device:
The CO2 Scraper is a large-scale construction for holding between two to four hundred large-size trees that will absorb potentially dangerous pollutants and convert global warming-related CO2 (carbon dioxide) into breathable oxygen.
Designed to be placed near factories or other major sources of pollution, the CO2 Scraper is a relatively simple, primarily concrete construction in which trees would be supplied with water and nutrients via a windmill-powered pump system. [Designed to be energy self-sufficient] via windmills (the only outside power required would be electricity for an elevator to be used by maintenance personnel), the Scraper will be "carbon positive," that is, it will absorb carbon dioxide and increase the amount of life-giving oxygen in the atmosphere.
Aside from absorbing nutrients and converting carbon dioxide into breathable air, the structure would also provide a significant amount of shade, while also cooling the air during the hot summer months because of the temperature-lowering properties of hundreds of trees.
Sounds like it would work, no? And it's also got me wondering if the kid who drew the smog vacuum grew up and got a job at Nectar.