There’s now a mural in Rome that eats pollution thanks to a special kind of paint.
In the bustling neighborhood of Ostiense, Rome, a new mural now adorns the side of a 7-story tall apartment building. It depicts a heron holding up a multi-colored pineapple while standing atop a pedestal that is beset by black tentacles. It's certainly eye-catching, to say the least.
It also removes pollution from the very air around it.
In a European first, the mural dubbed “Hunting Pollution” will actually take away impurities and pollutants from the surrounding air, cutting down on smog and haze that sometimes afflicts the ancient city thanks to streets covered in old diesel-burning cars.
The mural was painted by Milanese street artist Federico Massa (who also goes by the moniker Iena Cruz). It took him 21 days to complete the mural that stretches over 10,000 square feet on the side of a building, and because it’s made with a special paint, he had to work much faster than normal.
“Hunting Pollution” is made of Airlite paint, a special type of paint that sets like concrete in about 4 hours. After it dries, it filters the air around it, sucking out pollutants like nitrogen oxide from the surrounding atmosphere. With the amount of paint used in the mural, Massa suspects it will perform the same as 30 trees in terms of cleaning the air.
As for the design, Massa says he wanted to use the tricolored heron, a bird native to North and South American coasts, to illustrate how delicate Earth’s remaining creatures are.
“The inspiration to use the heron is above all because it’s an animal in danger of extinction. Most of my work is influenced by the desire to bring attention to environmental problems, like global warming and the extinction of animal species,” Massa told Lonely Planet in an interview.
“I’m an artist that is also strongly influenced by the site: in the case of this specific mural, the long and elegant heron married perfectly with the height of the building.”
Massa is hoping to paint similar murals in cities across the United States using the same pollution-eating paint.