E.ON, the utility giant that provides energy to 4.3 million British homes, on the 19th September unveiled an art installation designed to raise awareness of the prevalence and dangers of air pollution in the capital.
The 16ft installation, which is on the banks of the Thames near Tower Bridge, entitled ‘LUNGS’ is intended as a visual representation of the problem. A large glass lung fills up with different coloured smoke representing Nitrogen Dioxide, Sulphur Dioxide and PM 2.5 – three of the most significant pollutants in London.
It comes as new research has shown that major gaps exist in public awareness of the issue. Overall, 63% of people say they do not know enough about air pollution and the same percentage admit they put it to the back of their minds as it is invisible. However, despite the uncertainty even larger percentages are concerned as 82% say they are worried about the risk to health from breathing in toxins, and 89% that they would do more if they knew how.
‘Despite it being invisible, toxic air is the UK’s number one environmental hazard and public health priority.’ Iain Stewart, Professor of Geoscience at the University of Plymouth, said at the launch. ‘No level is a ‘safe’ level and the main pollutants are above legal or World HealthOrganization (WHO) limits in most urban areas’.
E.ON, which has recently transferred all its domestic customers onto a 100% renewable fuel mix hopes that awareness of the problem of air pollution may help reduce the risks. However, 81% of people who live in big cities say they simply do not have a choice but to live in polluted areas and 71% think that the impetus is on the government to do more.
The Installation comes ahead of the week long Global Climate Strike from 20th September and London Car Free Day on the 22nd.