An interactive ‘Pollution Pavilion’ has landed in Covent Garden’s iconic Piazza seeking to spark a national conversation about air pollution.  New research released today by Hubbub has revealed that 80% of Britons are worried that the UK limits for air pollution don’t match the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. The research discovered that 92% of parents with children under five are concerned about how air pollution could affect their families.

Despite this significant public concern, air pollution is largely invisible and does not generate as much political engagement within national government as other environmental challenges such as plastic pollution.

To raise public awareness, Hubbub and King’s College London have collaborated with artists Climate and Cities to create a new ’Pollution Pavilion’.  The interactive display features huge balloons that change colour reflecting annual Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2data drawn from five London Air Quality Network stations 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 limits for the entire year.  7.9 million Londoners – nearly 95% of the capital’s population – live in areas that exceed global limits for PM2.5 pollution particles by 50% or more annually.  

Hubbub believes that rapid government action is required to address this public health threat and today is urging people to contact their MP and ask them to support a legally binding commitment to meet World Health Organization recommended PM 2.5 limits by 2030.

Supporting the launch of the Pollution Pavilion Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London commented that: “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. 

The Pollution Pavilion has been directly supported by Grosvenor Britain and Ireland who have committed to achieving net carbon zero by 2030 including introducing initiatives to reduce traffic, increase green spaces and help their tenants to operate more sustainably.

The installation is part of Hubbub’s ongoing #AirWeShare campaign, supported by academics, politicians and leading companies.  Last year we revealed the level of poor air quality faced by Londoners in their daily routines. The results of this campaign can be found here

If you are interested in joining the #AirWeShare coalition please email [email protected]