Pure fan-tasy? Chinese inventor files bizarre anti-smog patent

Pure fan-tasy? Chinese inventor files bizarre anti-smog patent
A Chinese inventor has come up with a novel plan to tackle the country’s war on smog – gather 15 million people together and get them to wave large hand-held fans simultaneously.

A patent application filed with China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) for a ‘Haze fanning and removal scheme’ suggests that the thick smog that plagues many cities and regions can be removed manually and at a low cost.

“Very strong wind power and wind quantity can be generated by fanning and removing the haze manually,” the application filed by Du Honglai states.

Offering Beijing as an example, Du insists that if 15 million people waved hand held fans at the same time, in the same direction, they would generate strong enough wind pressure to remove newly-forming haze out of the city, preventing the generation of heavier smog.

Over 1 trillion cubic meters of air could be moved aside by one meter within an hour of deploying this mass fanning technique, he claims. Public notices via radio, TV and text messages could alert people when and where they are needed to chase the haze away.

Smog solving proposals are unsurprisingly a common patent application in China. Currently there are 67 pages of ‘smog’ related inventions listed on SIPO.

A 2015 study from the University of California calculated about 1.6 million people in China die each year from heart, lung and stroke problems due to air pollution. The World Health Organisation (WHO) classes China as the world’s deadliest country for outdoor air pollution.

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It appears not everyone is keen to wave a large fan during their lunch break in the name of fighting air pollution, however. “If people all starting waving fans in different places, where will the smog actually go?” one baffled social media user posted, according to the South China Morning Post.

Others were more biting in their ridicule: “15 million people all take a deep breath at the same time and suck in the haze. That seems easier,” a Weibo user said.

Another netizen cheekily proposed the concept could be used in other creative ways, according to Shanghaiist: “If 15 million people all pee at the same time will a lake not form?”

The patent application was submitted in March but only came to media attention after the Legal Daily posted about it. It’s still at preliminary stages and has not been reviewed by officials. Du clearly has no shortage of patent ideas – he has six more outstanding applications including a mosquito killer and nasal plugs for swimming.