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Chinese Cities Deploy Useless Water 'Cannons' Against Smog

Pedestrians walk past two giant sprayers set up to lower dust and smog at the Dongfanghong Square in Lanzhou city, northwest Chinas Gansu province on May 5
Pedestrians walk past two giant sprayers set up to lower dust and smog at the Dongfanghong Square in Lanzhou city, northwest Chinas Gansu province on May 5Photograph by Imaginechina via AP Photo

China’s infamous smog problems have inspired some creative thinking. Not necessarily practical thinking—or government dollars always well spent—but surely some inventive attempts at removing fine particle pollution from the air.

The latest example comes from the city of Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi province, where the local government has spent 900,000 yuan ($146,000) to build what Chinese newswire Xinhua describes as “a removable mist cannon.” The 10-ton cylindrical device, purchased from a company in Guangzhou, shoots tiny water droplets up to 600 meters into the air. The theory is that the water will adhere to pollution particles, and the added weight will cause them to fall to the ground.