I found myself standing recently on a city street where I used to live and I couldn’t believe the level of pollution in the air. It was actually hard to breathe and the whole area stank -mostly the smells of vehicle exhausts (although there was also a whiff of abandoned rubbish, since the council decided to save money by going for bi-weekly collections).
We routinely have cars now with catalytic convertors (and they smell pretty terrible too), so I wondered, why can’t cars smell better?
Today’s invention is to fit activated carbon filters (ie the ‘odour-eaters’ used in trainers) within vehicle exhaust systems. This could seriously reduce the unpleasant smells emanating from the rear ends of cars and trucks. A further improvement could be made if we arranged to inject ‘natural’ scents into the exhaust stream of each vehicle (cut grass, perhaps or baking bread or newly tilled soil…).
This does nothing, of course, about the levels of particles emitted or dangerous gases but it might make urban life more tolerable while we work on solutions to those other issues.