London Mayor to Spray City Streets with Pollution Paste

London Mayor to Spray City Streets with Pollution Paste

Image CC licensed by Flickr user pfig

In a bid to cut air pollution, the City of London began spraying a "dust suppressant" today that acts as an adhesive to paste particulate matter to the streets instead of re-circulating in the air.

Transport for London will spray the suppressant at two traffic-heavy spots over the next six months during the pilot phase. The city hopes the move will curb concentrations of particulate matter by 10 percent to 20 percent, similar to results from other pilot tests in Europe, including Sweden, Norway, Austria, Italy and Germany.

"We have scoured the globe to find new ways to tackle pollution and found this wonderful contraption that tackles air quality head on, sticking particles to the roads' surface and preventing their dastardly escape back into the air we breathe," London Mayor Boris Johnson said in a statement Friday. "We expect this new measure to have an immediate impact on air quality in the most polluted areas of central London."

The city is close to exceeding European Union limits for particulate matter, which is generated largely by vehicle engines, tires and brakes but complicates the respiratory systems of children and seniors.

If the pilot test results are favorable, other parts of London could begin spraying the dust suppressant, which is comprised of a biodegradable saline solution called Calcium Magnesium Acetate. It is to be used in small amounts, several times a week between midnight and 6 a.m., following a street sweeping and jet wash.

The pilot test is meant to complement other city measures to improve air quality, including Low Emission Zone standards and boosting the number of hybrid buses.

Results of the £300,000 (US $485,070) program will be released next autumn.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user pfig.