- By Travis Daub
Businessweek reports that Italcementi, an Italian concrete company, has introduced a smog-eating compound called TX Active, which can be mixed into regular cement and applied to buildings and road surfaces. The resulting concrete has the ability to break down many air pollutants such as nitric oxides into less volatile compounds. And these aren’t just laboratory results—streets in Segrate, Italy, that were repaved with the material have generated air pollution reductions of up to 60 percent. Best of all, the compound is very inexpensive. Adding it to the facade of a five-story building only costs around $120. The other added benefit: White concrete stays white, since TX Active breaks down many of the pollutants that regularly stain structures.
Some other facts on concrete:
Concrete is the most abundant man-made material on Earth. About six billion cubic meters are poured every year, one for every person on the planet. China consumes about 40 percent of annual worldwide concrete production.
Colum Lynch is Foreign Policy's award-winning U.N.-based senior diplomatic reporter. Lynch previously wrote Foreign Policy's Turtle Bay blog, for which he was awarded the 2011 National Magazine Award for best reporting in digital media. He is also a recipient of the 2013 Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Silver Prize for his coverage of the United Nations.
Before moving to Foreign Policy, Lynch reported on diplomacy and national security for the Washington Post for more than a decade. As the Washington Post's United Nations reporter, Lynch had been involved in the paper's diplomatic coverage of crises in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as the nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea. He also played a key part in the Post's diplomatic reporting on the Iraq war, the International Criminal Court, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, and U.S. counterterrorism strategy. Lynch's enterprise reporting has explored the underside of international diplomacy. His investigations have uncovered a U.S. spying operation in Iraq, Dick Cheney's former company's financial links to Saddam Hussein, and documented numerous sexual misconduct and corruption scandals.
Lynch has appeared frequently on the Lehrer News Hour, MSNBC, NPR radio, and the BBC. He has also moderated public discussions on foreign policy, including interviews with Susan E. Rice, the U.S. National Security Advisor, Gerard Araud, France's U.N. ambassador, and other senior diplomatic leaders.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Lynch received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1985 and a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 1987. He previously worked for the Boston Globe.| Turtle Bay |