Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Anti-Pollution Confetti Fountain

Remove Pollution, Entertain the Public!
  (+9, -2)
(+9, -2)
  [vote for,
against]

Particulate and chemical pollution from smoke stacks is an ever present problem for todays environment.

I propose that discharge smoke stacks be equipped with Anti-pollution confetti distributors, then as the confetti rises in the hot exhaust stream the particulate and chemical pollutants stick to the biodegradable foam puffs.

Addition of time sensitive dyes allow the confetti to be a variety of bright colors that fade shortly after the confetti falls to the ground. As the puffs exit the stack they form a wonderful confetti fountain for all to enjoy.

The confetti falls to earth and rapidly dissolves away preventing the particulate and chemical materials from being released into the air or environment while improving the appearance of industrialized areas.

The area around these stacks has a water control system such that the runoff is collected and no excess pollutants are released into the environment. To clarify, I am talking about a fountain in the literal sense of the word with the difference being that instead of water the fountian is air and confetti. Around the base of the stack is a "pool" or collection zone into which the confetti falls. This "pool" is like a basin, it is watertight and sealed from the surrounding environment, all the pollutants are captive and flow through drains to a treatment facility where they are collected and treated to eliminate the contamination.

Also a monitoring system would ensure that the confetti is only released on days when the wind will not carry the confetti away.

jhomrighaus, Feb 28 2008

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       Wondering which is worse: acid rain or confetti rain...?
DrCurry, Feb 28 2008
  

       Can it have paragraph breaks?
normzone, Feb 28 2008
  

       //Wondering which is worse: acid rain or confetti rain...?//   

       The difference here is that the confetti is confined to the immediate area(say hundreds of feet) around the stack, the pollutants would not be carried away as they are now. Further this area would be part of the property of the company owning the stack so pollution would be limited to their property only thus eliminating or greatly reducing smog or acid rain miles away.
jhomrighaus, Feb 28 2008
  

       Amusing. And pretty.   

       But the confetti would work better if it was a bit heavier and fell from the top of the chimney to the bottom, INSIDE the chimney, for collection and disposal of the particulates. If you research, you might find something like that is already being done.
baconbrain, Feb 28 2008
  

       Much nicer. Thank you.
normzone, Feb 29 2008
  

       A static charge particle filter could be very effective. I think that allowing the toxins to escape the system is not a plus but a recycled charged powder filer would be cutting edge. I would suggest activated charcoal if it wasn't so combustable. Anyone else out there think this might actually work?
WcW, Feb 29 2008
  

       + I like it...very halfbakery-ish.
xandram, Feb 29 2008
  

       It's a cute idea as far as it goes - you'd have to inject a lot of tissue paper into the hot-air stream, and this would of course need to be manufactured somewhere.   

       However, I can't help thinking through what this might be like in actuality.   

       My first thought is of wading through the reeking half-dissolved toxic confetti sludge that would accumulate around these places.   

       And then there's the question of increased rates of contamination. The reason noxious gasses are pumped into the air in the first place is that there's an awful lot of air about, the idea being that any nasty chemicals will be diluted to such an extent to be rendered harmless. That's not to advocate pumping toxins into the air, just to explain why they it's done like that. If you're going to use confetti to trap all the toxins, you might as well do away with the chimneys in the first place.   

       Capturing these same toxins and dumping them in a concentrated area around such facilities is going to rapidly contaminate the locale to dangerous levels, causing severe direct and congenital disease in the population, not only in the short term, but possibly for generations to come.   

       Now if you captured the confetti *before* it escaped into the environment, and carefully disposed of it in a safe and responsible manner, I would have bunned this - but despite the cutesy (if rather sinister)idea of it all raining down on the raptured, upturned faces of the local population (unbeknownst to them, condemning them to a painful death of pollution borne illness, while their horrifically deformed offspring are further destined to writhe away their twisted bodies, forgotten in some mutant orphanage) and despite the fact that it would reduce incidents of acid rain in Scandinavia, I can't help feeling that it's not a solution I could fully support. It's all a bit Chernobyllian.   

       But the notion of cutesy rainbow death is quite fun, so I'm not going to bone this either.
zen_tom, Feb 29 2008
  

       [zen_tom] Did you read all the way through the idea? I specifically addressed your concern in stating;   

       //The area around these stacks has a water control system such that the runoff is collected and no excess pollutants are released into the environment.//   

       And further annotated;   

       //The difference here is that the confetti is confined to the immediate area(say hundreds of feet) around the stack, the pollutants would not be carried away as they are now. Further this area would be part of the property of the company owning the stack so pollution would be limited to their property only thus eliminating or greatly reducing smog or acid rain miles away.//   

       With these comments I specifically indicated that the confetti would not go outside of the immediate area of the stack(much like a regular fountain) There would be no toxic sludge raining down on the community or anything of the sort. Further the pollution would be collected in the water treatment system and no pollution would be released into the surrounding environment.
jhomrighaus, Feb 29 2008
  

       Yeah, I read both of those things - they pay lip service to those issues, but I just don't believe that they would effectively deal with the deadly pollution caused by the many millions of tonnes of poisoned confetti that would rain down indiscriminately to the earth.   

       Since factories are often zoned together, having the waste fall only on the grounds of the factory will still mean, in effect, there will be a number of factories dumping their waste in unison across a fairly wide area.   

       I know a little about this, having tried to purchase property in London that had historically been used (for hundreds of years) in an industrial capacity - much of the land in these areas, if left untreated (which is an expensive process) is considered 'contaminated' and as such, considered unfit for habitation. And that's with working chimneys.   

       Having clever run-off systems also requires making the ground non-porous, which makes it highly prone to pollutive flash flooding both locally, and threatens neighbouring places with dangerous run-off. And would also be unbelievably expensive, having to avoid any leakage into the water-table.   

       And the even cleverest of these measures wont stop the stuff directly falling on the workers beneath, who, I suppose, you could equip with attractive gas-masks and full bio-warfare style clothing.   

       It's just that chimneys are there to pipe the toxins away, and this idea is negating this fundamental reason for their existence (again Industrial London comes to mind as an example of what happens when heavier than air particulate matter is caught up in chimneys, floating back down to earth, rather than being carried away in the wind - causing city-wide tuberculosis and other respiratory disease)   

       I'm just not feeling the Disneyesque joy of it all I suppose.
zen_tom, Feb 29 2008
  

       perhaps Ive not been clear, I am talking about a fountain in the literal sense of the word with the difference being that instead of water the fountian is air and confetti. Around the base of the stack is a "pool" or collection zone into which the confetti falls. This "pool" is like a basin, it is watertight and sealed from the surrounding environment, all the pollutants are captive and flow through drains to a treatment facility where they are collected and treated to eliminate the contamination. the only discharge to the outside is the cleaner air that leaves the stack and treated water that based on my experience in waste water(I am a licensed wastewater treatment plant operator) is normally cleaner than the receiving stream.   

       The area where the fountain is located would be devoted to the purpose only, there would be no workers to rain down upon, in a sample application consider to different large factory complexes, Many have large land areas and so the discharge stacks would be located in an open area and a clay lined basin(as used in landfills for containing leachate and runoff) would line the basin area. For a factory on a smaller land area the basin would be incorporated into the roof of the factory.   

       I am confused by your wanton hatred of an idea that collects and contains pollutants while improving the appearance of an eyesore. At no time have I implied that such a device would rain confetti down on the city like ash on Pompeii, yet you have insisted vehemently that this is what I am proposing.
jhomrighaus, Feb 29 2008
  

       //It's just that chimneys are there to pipe the toxins away, and this idea is negating this fundamental reason for their existence (again Industrial London comes to mind as an example of what happens when heavier than air particulate matter is caught up in chimneys, floating back down to earth, rather than being carried away in the wind - causing city-wide tuberculosis and other respiratory disease)//   

       Do you really believe what you say here???? If so you really need to educate yourself. Smoke stacks are present only to pump hazardous exhaust gasses away from the factory in the most cost effective, least burdensome way possible for the manufacturer, they do not serve any altruistic purpose of carrying things away to save the community. What they do is spread pollution over even wider areas. Modern day equipment uses bag houses, scrubbers, venturis and impingers to capture and contain a great deal of pollutants from the exhaust stream. What occurred in London in the past was the result of ignorance and lack of regulation. The idea proposed is a visually interesting way to achieve the same ends as modern filtration system by combining impinging systems and venturi systems to collect the materials.   

       // I know a little about this, having tried to purchase property in London that had historically been used (for hundreds of years) in an industrial capacity - much of the land in these areas, if left untreated (which is an expensive process) is considered 'contaminated' and as such, considered unfit for habitation. And that's with working chimneys//   

       The contamination to which you are referring has absolutely nothing to do with the presence of chimneys on the site, it is equally likely(in many case far more likely) that a contaminated site would have had no stacks at all. The contamination is due to waste disposal and hazardous material handling throughout the late 19th and early mid 20th century when it was common practice to simply dump waste liquids down the drain(like PCBs used for casting or transformers) and pile waste solids on the back lot of the factory(like battery casting flash or incinerator ash(laced with heavy metals). My current employer is an environmental testing lab specializing in the analysis of organic contaminants such as PCBs, solvents, pesticides and other byproducts. we also extensively test for metals. Most of our work is samples from remediation and cleanup projects which clean up sites such as you describe.
jhomrighaus, Feb 29 2008
  

       I thought the idea had real merit but releasing a toxin that you have captured into the environment is nonsensical. Could a confetti filter work? Consensus=yes.
WcW, Feb 29 2008
  

       Calm down [jhom]-if I missed the part where you included pools for the collection, it's because you didn't mention them till now.   

       Tall chimneys are tall because if they were shorter, the smoke coming out of them would envelop the surrounding area. That should be obvious to all, and I hope my stating it doesn't require my re-education.   

       //I am confused by your wanton hatred// don't worry - it wasn't wanton - I thought I was quite clear in what I was saying - if it was based on a fact that you hadn't mentioned till now, then apologies - my bad.
zen_tom, Feb 29 2008
  

       Edited to clarify this point, sorry for the confusion.
jhomrighaus, Feb 29 2008
  

       I see a couple of potential problems here:

//the confetti rises in the hot exhaust stream the particulate and chemical pollutants stick to the biodegradable foam puffs//
That sounds a bit convenient/magical. How do you ensure that the confetti captures an acceptable percentage of the pollution? Is this solution extensible to all kinds of gaseous industrial pollution?

// a monitoring system would ensure that the confetti is only released on days when the wind will not carry the confetti away.//
Does the factory have an in-built storage facility to queue up output on windy days, or do you just vent into the atmosphere on windy days?

Either way, it sounds expensive in both financial and ecological terms to develop a factory at which the mechanism to deal with the polluntants produced only works on calm days. Why not buy everyone who lives near the factory a lava lamp and invest in more boring but feasible techniques?
DocBrown, Mar 01 2008
  
      
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