Air pollution is responsible for 3.1 million premature deaths every year and most of these occur in the developing world.

In Manila, the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) is a 12-lane super highway which carries hundreds of thousands of vehicles a day. This level of traffic has also brought with it worrying levels of toxic pollution.

Local researchers have found that the nitrogen oxides level around EDSA is over four and a half times the safe limit set by the World Health Organisation.

However, a unique collaboration between a visual artist and a rather special paint manufacturer is turning the fabric of the city into an air filter.

Using ultrafine titanium dioxide, the paint company has produced an air purifying paint which neutralises nitrogen oxide into harmless quantities of calcium nitrate, CO2 and water.

Working with ten other artists, four murals covering an area of 4,000 square metres have already been completed and four more are under way which will take the project to the combined NOx cleaning power of 8,000 mature trees.

Russell Beard travels to Manila, Philippines, to see how art and science are giving one of the world’s most polluted cities a much-needed green makeover.

earthrise can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Tuesday: 2230; Wednesday: 0930; Thursday: 0330; Friday: 1630; Saturday: 2230; Sunday: 0930; Monday: 0330; Tuesday: 1630. 

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Source: Al Jazeera