Pollution  Pavilion revealing invisible  air pollution  arrives in Covent Garden

A stunning, interactive ‘Pollution Pavilion’  has landed  in Covent Garden’s iconic Piazza to  spark a  national conversation about  air pollution. It’s the work of environmental charity Hubbub and Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, which are  urging  people to  help  make this pressing issue  political priority wherever  they live.

Research  released today by Hubbub finds  80%  of Britons are worried that the UK limits for air pollution don’t match WHO guidelines. The survey also found that  83% of people are worried about how air pollution could affect them or their families – this  rises  to 89% for parents with primary school-aged children and 92% for those with under-fives.

The unique installation,  designed  in collaboration with artists  Climate and Cities  and King’s College London, displays huge balloons that change colour,  reflecting annual  Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)  data  drawn from 5 London Air Quality Network stations  across London to help visitors visualise air pollution levels. Nitrogen Dioxide comes mainly from road transport and has been linked to asthma prevalence, adverse birth outcomes, cancer and reduced life expectancy.

Across the  UK, almost 2,000 locations across England, Wales and Northern Ireland have levels of air pollution that exceed the WHO’s guidelines.   On  18 March  2019, London  had already breached European and UK  PM10  limit  for the entire year and  nearly every area of the capital breaches WHO guidelines for PM2.5 pollution. 

The #AirWeShare  campaign,  supported by property business Grosvenor Britain & Ireland,  is today urging people to ask their  MP to  support a  legally binding  commitment to meet  World Health Organization  recommended  PM 2.5 limits  by 2030.

TrewinRestorick, CEO and Co-founder of Hubbub  said:  “As air pollution is invisible it’s really easy to ignore this issue,  but there is a very real threat to our health.  There’s lots we can all do to improve the Air We Share and have a positive impact,  but what we really need is legislation and initiatives that deliver clean air for everyone.   We are today urging  everyone to write to their  local  MP to get this important issue higher up on the  Government’s agenda.” 

Tor Burrows, Director of Sustainability and Innovation, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland  said: “Poor air quality in our cities is a reality for too many people. As a business we have committed to achieving net zero carbon by 2030 and are playing our part by reducing traffic, increasing greening and helping all our tenants to operate more sustainably. But this is not enough, we need our elected officials to push harder and faster towards a net zero carbon economy. Please lend your voice to demand the air quality we all deserve by contacting your MP.”  

Professor  Frank Kelly,  Head, Department of Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences,  King’s College  London  said : “Air pollution is a grave risk to human health. The more we have investigated the issue the more problems have been uncovered from effects on the unborn child to a contribution to neurodegenerative disease in adults. Installations like this play an important role in raising interest and understanding about the air pollution challenge and I applaud Hubbub and Grosvenor in working with King’s College London to bring this issue to the public’s attention.” 

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London said:  “It’s great to see campaigners, businesses and academics collaborating on creative ways to help the public understand the dangers of air pollution and encourage them to take action. Air pollution is an invisible killer and I’m taking some of the boldest action of any city in the world to ensure Londoners can breathe clean air. This includes introducing the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone, which has helped slash roadside nitrogen dioxide pollution by around a third in the central London zone.  We need Government to follow London’s lead and MPs to use their voice in Parliament to help clean our filthy air across the country. A key part of this is toughening up targets in the upcoming Environment Bill to meet World Health Organization air quality guidelines by 2030.” 

#AirWeSharecampaign urges people to take  the following actions  to  lower  their exposure to air pollution and to help reduce pollution: 

  • Switch car journeys for ones where you can walk, cycle or take public transport instead 
  • Re-route your journey. Choosing quieter routes rather than main roads has been found to reduce your exposure to air pollution by up to 50% 
  • Do you order online? You can reduce your online footprint by opting for click-and-collect or collect in store (or by choosing not to buy it at all!) 
  • Use your voice and your power to make positive change. MP’s act on our behalf. So,  share  your views with them and invite them to help to improve your local air

The  #AirWeshare  campaign launched in May 2019 and was created by Hubbub and supported by leading companies including Investec plc, Bunzl, First Mile, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, Kingfisher  and  Innogy EMobility UK.  The campaign  provides practical advice  about how people can  protect themselves and their families, what they  can do to reduce their own emissions, and  how they can add their voice to the wider call  for cleaner air.  The #AirWeShare  is also  building a coalition of leading companies who want to test new ways of  reducing air pollution;  creating greener, safer and healthier cities that are better for employees and communities.

The  Pollution Pavilion will remain in Covent Garden’s Piazza until 26 January 2020 and will move to Grosvenor Square in the Spring.