Boysen KNOxOUT Project Edsa

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Whitewash the breeze

February 07 2012 -

As their tagline goes: “Imagine paint that purifies the air.” Can you imagine that, indeed?

At the BOYSEN® KNOxOUT press lunch, Finnish ambassador Heikki Hannikainen was there to speak about how in Finland, citizens take clean air for granted. He sometimes walks by EDSA going to work, and with Finland being well within the European standards for air cleanliness, it makes him appreciate his homeland more. So he is happy that such groundbreaking technology that can combat air pollution exists in a paint that is accessible to the masses.

So what exactly is BOYSEN®'s KNOxOUT paint? As I try my best in layman’s terms, it is paint that contains titanium dioxide (TiO2), a compound known to have chemical properties that break down nitrous oxide (NOx), which are poisonous to humans. The TiO2 is photocatalytic in nature, meaning as long as this compound present in the paint is exposed to sunlight, it will continue breaking down NOx, turning it into by-products of calcium nitrate plus negligible amounts of carbon dioxide and water.

This may sound too good to be true, but the scientific solutions of this troubled world do not always come from labyrinthine machines of the future. Sometimes, the simplest solutions can come from something as everyday as, well, paint.

Purifying art in a polluted metro
It would be easy to accuse BOYSEN® of riding on this current wave of “climate change” awareness to gain a competitive edge. But project head Desiree Ching shared with me that she went aboard because she believed in the project. “The owners (of BOYSEN®) told me if the purpose was to make money, putting up a billboard was easier. But they want to make a positive impact on the environment.”

She even went to great lengths to provide press materials in a USB drive encased in responsibly sourced wood, which admittedly, looks pretty sleek. The giveaways were katsa bags and custom-ordered solar chargers for cellphones. I already own a solar charger — it’s one of my favorite things in the world. With these little touches, I knew the project is in environmentally conscious hands.

Desiree shares the grand plan is to paint 1,000 square meters of surface that purifies NOx in heavily polluted Metro Manila. Three out of the eight massive scale works have been completed. The first is this gorgeous wall collage entitled “Ganap” by Filipino artist Tence Ruiz, on a wall outside San Lorenzo Village in Makati. Vice President Jejomar Binay was present to inaugurate the piece as part of the city’s artistry.

The second one is under the EDSA-Ortigas flyover, by Studio B + C, also known as Baby Imperial and Coco Anne, a Filipina and French artist couple. It is a subtle work of cubism depicting soldiers and people on the streets, exactly at that historical location to honor the significance of EDSA 1.

The most recent addition is located at Cubao’s EDSA-Aurora underpass, an urban graffiti work by Finnish artist Tapio Snellman. It is a depiction of EDSA within EDSA: A view from the underground of urban piping, mass transportation, EDSA infrastructure, and even a billboard of Anne Curtis’ “Annebisyosa” album. These works of street art are open to public appreciation 24/7, so I suggest you drop by one of these days.

No more room for “All Business”

In light of the ongoing SM Baguio hubbub, it has become obvious that it is the responsibility of big corporations to have sound environmental policies. In this age of climate change, when unprecedented floods ravage the lands, when “super typhoon” becomes an ordinary word uttered twice a year, people simply do not take these things lightly anymore.

In fact, being an eco-friendly company that promotes awareness on sustainable development can actually help sell more products. When more people know about BOYSEN®'s KNOxOUT paint, I’m sure the environmentally conscious will start using this to paint their homes.   

Now, we have a way of “whitewashing the breeze.” So, much kudos to BOYSEN® for taking the initiative to create a product that mixes imagination, sustainability, and entrepreneurship all in one.

All the big companies out there should follow suit because the future is starting to paint a plain and simple picture: without this world, we are without business. Try to imagine that.
- Andare Avanti, Courtesy of The Philippine Star