On a rainy afternoon in Shanghai, the contamination hangs low and heavy. The usual vibrancy of the city is dulled, the tops of the sky scrapers play hide and seek.
Locals buy air purifiers and hope one day their kids won’t have to worry about that lingering cough that tickles the base of their throats.
According to a study by Nanjing University’s School of the Environment, nearly one third of deaths in China are related to smog.
Research from the University of California found that 1.6 million people living in China die every year because of the poor air conditions. That means roughly 4,400 every single day.
I watch a mother mask her child’s mouth prior to heading to the local grocery store, and I wonder, what can be done?
Enter Daan Roosegaarde, a creative master mind with a dream of clean air.
He believes bikes can be a sustainable, opportune source of reducing air pollution.
“Together with Chinese and Dutch expertise we will bring back the bicycle as a cultural icon of China and as the next step towards smog free cities,” Mr Roosegaarde says.
In the city streets of China, it would be bizarre to see a paved path without an extensive amount of bikes ready to be borrowed.
While there are many competing companies which offer various types of bicycles, one of the most popular ones is Ofo, which has over 20 million registered users.
At the touch of a phone app, the bicycle is yours to borrow for as long as required, and can be left on any street at the closest convenience to the user.
Siezing this opportunity, Mr Roosegaarde has designed a bicycle which inhales polluted air, and then cleans and releases it as the cyclist rides.
The bike is still in concept stage, but an exclusive partnership was announced with Ofo in a press conference at the World Economic Forum / AMNC17 in Dalian.
The Smog Free Bike is part of a bigger project, which includes more creations such as a sustainable dance floor and smog free tower.
“Smog Free Project is a series of urban innovation to reduce pollution on the city scale, a package deal for Mayors for an immediate impact and lasting effect towards smog free cities,” Mr Roosegarde says.
For more information on the work of Daan Roosegarde, head to http://studioroosegaarde.net