Green Economy smog pollution eating paint

Published on April 20th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Smog-Eating Graffiti for One of World’s Most Polluted Cities

April 20th, 2012 by  

smog pollution eating paint

Update: for a lot more info on the paint, check out the comment by the people behind it in the comments below the post!

This story grabbed my eye like few do, so I imagine it might have for you, too. So, you’re probably asking: “What’s the deal? Is smog-eating graffiti for real?” Yes, it is.

Manila (Philippines), reportedly one of the five most polluted cities in the world, is using an air-purifying paint — a paint that filters out nitrogen oxides when it reacts with sunlight and water vapor — on walls around the city, especially next to highways, to clean the air. As the BBC video below notes, people are painting murals on the walls of some of Manila’s busiest streets and measurements so far show that it is really helping to clean the air (but that there’s still a lot more to be done).

The catalytic paint, Boysen KNOxOUT, was created by a local Manila company.

Jess Zimmerman of Grist (where I ran across this story) echoes one of the stats from the video above and adds her own little twist of enthusiasm and “let’s do it” creativity in this nice comment: “Eleven square feet of paint-covered surface can absorb as much pollution as a full-grown tree, and these murals are close to 11 THOUSAND square feet. If we could get this stuff into the hands of street artists and taggers, it would be like having an army of energetic teenagers planting trees all over the city all day, every day.” Seriously, this should be deployed in cities around the world (unless we’re missing some nasty details about the paint).

Have you heard about this paint before? Think it’s the coolest thing since sliced bread? Have something else to chime in about?

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Elizha

    Doesn’t it contain titanium dioxide which is suspected to be carcinogenic?

  • Boysen KNOxOUT Philippines

    Thanks so much for helping us spread the word about Boysen KNOxOUT and the urban renewal initiative The EDSA Project (Everyone Deserves Safe Air).

    Just to tell you a bit more about the project, the medium used in the art works is Boysen KNOxOUT –the first air-cleaning paint in the which has been proven to transform 10 cars worth of emissions per square meter painted. Eight walls measuring 1000sqm each along the nearly 24-kilometer stretch of historic EDSA will be repainted using the paint. Each art work is expected to purify the emissions of 10,000 cars everyday.

    Re the questions:

    1. Is it toxic? NO.The paint is low-VOC and it contains no lead and mercury. It actually breaks down smog or air pollutants like NOx into harmless substances like water vapor.

    2. How long does it last? The air cleaning property of the paint works as long as the paint is intact and exposed to a light source (ie. sunlight, UV light). The paint can last the regular painting interval of 5 years.

    3. Cost? In canvassing costs, the fact that Boysen KNOxOUT is an air purifier more than a paint product should be considered–you’re technically buying an air purifier while getting a quality paint for ‘free.’ Exact price quotation can be directed to

    4. Could it be used as base house paint? YES. It is recommended however that it’s exposed to a light source that will activate the air -cleaning property.

    In the meantime, you can check out these sites: and for more info.

  • Matt

    At first glance look really great. But one does wonder.
    – Is it toxic, or does it manufacture create a lot of toxic waste.
    – Does it last? month, year, 20 years?
    – Cost?

    If cost/duration is low enough and not toxic. Then think all those noise reduction walls next to highway going into a city. They get painted.

    • yeah, i know, brings many questions, and many thoughts on possible application.

  • rommel43

    If its true and it doesnt have major side affects could it be used as a base house paint?

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