Air quality data shows that air pollution in London is at dangerously high levels, causing more than 9,000 premature deaths each year. To help raise awareness, we at Airinum decided to put up warning signs in the most polluted areas in central London. An act to visualize this invisible threat to human health.

Air pollution kills over seven million people a year, making it one of the most discussed topics at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid. During the summit, a lot of emphases was put on the role of cities in decarbonization, and the urgency to lower emissions in cities all over the world to protect human health. In London alone, air pollution contributes to more than 9,000 premature deaths each year, according to a recent study published by King’s College.

We wanted to make a statement together with the citizens of London to protest air pollution in the capital and the severe effects it has on human health.

“In the light of COP25 we wanted to seize the opportunity to educate people on how air pollution is destroying our health and how serious the situation is in London, a city really suffering the consequences of climate change.” says Alexander Hjertström, CEO and co-founder of Airinum, and continues “Building knowledge and awareness is one of five actions set by the UN to combat Climate Change, something Airinum hope to do with this action by making people aware of this massive global problem, on a local level. 

By using an air quality sensor we located the most polluted areas in central London. One of the areas where we placed a warning sign was in Southwark where millions of people pass through every day. The study published by King’s College earlier this year shows that this postcode has the worst air quality in London with nitrogen dioxide levels at 102.05mg per m3, 2.5 times the WHO safety levels.

Londoners were horrified to learn about the health risks they face everyday by just breathing the local air. 

“Clean air should be a fundamental human right, and we must fight to change the situation, for everyone around the world.” says Laura Hanns, one of the Londoners stopping to read the signs put up by us.

“By letting Londoners who walk these streets everyday make a statement through social media we hope to reach more people and hopefully spring a debate about the problem.” says Alexander Hjertström.

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