Beijing has surprisingly some of the worst air pollution in the world today. While China may be thriving from making a large portion of consumer products for the demands of the world market, it hasn’t kept up with environmental standards. This means that nearly every day, the air quality of Beijing is poor, being a dark haze that people must walk through. One man has decided to bring awareness to this issue through his art. To create his art he used two things: a vacuum cleaner and the pollution from Beijing.
His name is only Brother Nut. He’s regularly a performance artist, but has experienced great success with his latest project. It’s gone viral on social media. Using two things, he has converted air pollution into a solid black brick of art.
According to the CIS portal, to create his art, he spent 100 days this year walking around the Chinese capital of Beijing with his vacuum cleaner. He used a large industrial-sized vacuum cleaner. He would hold the wand high in the air as he walked. This vacuum cleaner sucked in the dust and microscopic particles from the air—the very particles that are part of air pollution.
While the resulting brick he made isn’t anything fancy, he did it to make a point of China’s poor air quality. Many people did not understand why he walked around vacuuming dust from the air.
But Brother Nut said that air pollution is a problem for every person in the country. He feels that everyone should have a right to breathe in fresh clean air. He feels that the people of Beijing are being denied this basic right.
For the past 2100 days in Beijing, there have only been 58 good air quality days. Of the remainder, there have been over 2000 days with unhealthy air quality. Last December 2015, Beijing issued its first-ever red smog alert air quality warning. This literally shut down the city. Schools were closed, construction sites were shut down, and few cars were allowed on the roads. Later in December, the US Embassy measured hazardous PM2.5 pollutants in the air as being above 500. This is beyond the index for anything being recorded.
During Brother Nut’s vacuum cleaner collection he collected over 100 grams of pollutants from the air. Some of these contain small particulates that are thirty times smaller than a strand of your hair.
To make his brick, he took clay, and mixed it up, and poured it into a mould. Once dry, the brick popped out. It looks a lot like any other type of brick.
Brother Nut now gets stopped on the street since his project went viral on social media. And apparently, he’s not the first artist to suggest that a gigantic vacuum cleaner can be used to clean the city’s air.
Back in 2013 Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde designed an electro-magnetic device that would pull airborne smog particles to the ground, creating fresh air in its place.
Air pollution is harmful because it contains harmful substances to the human body, such as soot, arsenic, and lead. These particulates enter the lungs and bloodstream and can cause difficulties in breathing, allergies, asthma, and even cancer. They can even lead to heart disease. This is what inspired Brother Nut to create his project.
Brother Nut was even offered $1600 US to sell his brick, but declined. Hopefully someone is listening, as making air cleaners for outdoors could be a lucrative business. Until then, we’ll have to wait for China to conform to UN requirements for air quality.