DIY Innovation Relieves Air Pollution in China

When air pollution levels in Beijing and Shanghai reached seriously unhealthy levels this winter, the conventional remedy was an $800 air filter in each room of every apartment, house, restaurant, or office. That's a pricey solution, even for China’s increasingly wealthy middle class. Now there's a new, DIY innovation for a fraction of that expense: $33 buys you a Smart Air Filter kit from Taobao, China's Amazon-like e-commerce site. The product - a fan, a filter, and a Velcro strap to attach them - is the brainstorm not of a genius inventor but of a visiting Fulbright scholar, Thomas Telham. Orders now average 70 a day. Idea: let's support teams of bright, 20-somethings who assume a DIY attitude to come up with similar, low-cost, highly effective solutions to other sustainability issues.

John Howell, Editorial Director