Air Ink makes art out of pollution


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Pollution is one of the ugly realities of our industrial society. In China and India, the air pollution is so extreme that it is one of the leading causes of death for those countries. In parts of India and China, the air quality is so poor that it can leave visible smudges on people’s clothing when they go outside. Anirudh Sharma, an inventor and the founder of India-based Graviky Labs, came up with one creative way to combat these issues.


Sharma realized that a substance capable of staining people’s clothing could potentially be repurposed for art. As a result of this realization, he developed a way to collect carbon soot from exhaust in concentrated measures. The device Sharma created is a cylindrical unit that fits over a tailpipe and captures carbon soot from a vehicle’s emissions while allowing gases to pass through. This means that the device removes harmful polluting particles without compromising the vehicle’s engine. Sharma and his team then take the captured pollution back to their lab, where they remove any trace heavy metals and carcinogens. The purified soot undergoes a variety of different refinements to make it into different types of ink or paint. The result is Air Ink, a medium that artists can use just like traditional ink and paint.


According to Air Ink’s website, “an average 2MM marker contains pollutants from a diesel car driving for 30 to 50 minutes.” In other words, an Air Ink pen takes billions of particles that could be in the air damaging people’s lungs, and turns them into art. This is a relatively easy and sustainable way to reduce air pollution, and it literally turns something ugly into something beautiful. Recently, Graviky Labs partnered with Tiger Beer in Hong Kong, a city known for its high pollution, to test Air Ink. They gave their product to nine talented local artists and asked them to paint murals in Hong Kong’s Sheun Wan district. The project was a huge success, with all of the artists supporting Air Ink and its mission. It may be a little too early to say that Air Ink could save the environment, but it is certainly well on its way to helping people in high pollution areas breathe a little easier.airinkmural -Tessa

Air Ink makes art out of pollution