Yu Shaocai is a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency employee and an expert on “wet deposition,” a process by which falling raindrops or snowflakes “scavenge” aerosol particles from the air. In other words, they collect and deposit the polluted particles on the ground. This why the air is usually clearer after a rainy day.
In an article published in the January issue of Environmental Chemistry Letters, Shaocai proposes a novel way to kickstart wet deposition in polluted cities: By faking it with geoengineered urban infrastructure. In simpler terms, Shaocai’s plan involves attaching giant sprinklers, like showerheads, to the exterior of skyscrapers, and spraying water into the atmosphere above heavily-polluted cities to clear out toxins and gases.