World Environment Day:
5 pioneers helping to beat air pollution
To mark World Environment Day, the United Nations is inviting people worldwide to come together to #BeatAirPollution by joining the mask challenge. The clean air campaign also encourages everyone to pledge to action a change that will help combat air pollution in their area, whether that be walking instead of driving or switching to a smart electricity meter.
According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is estimated to be responsible for seven million premature deaths worldwide each year. Over 600,000 of these are children under fifteen years old.
In the UK, a nine-year-old girl, Ella Kissi-Debrah, may soon become the first person to have air pollution officially recorded as cause of death, as a result of the campaigning efforts of her mother. Ella’s fatal asthma attack in 2013 has been linked to illegally high levels of air pollution in London. London is not expected to comply with legal limits of air pollution until 2025, according to government modelling.
Addressing air pollution is a vital part of the fight against the climate crisis. This World Environment Day, we celebrate five pioneers that are having a positive impact.
ClientEarth uses law to protect people and the planet. Its team of experienced lawyers and environmental experts works tirelessly to combat climate change and to protect nature and the environment, with a particular focus on air pollution.
ClientEarth successfully forced the UK government to take action on air pollution in 2014, 2016 and 2018 and currently has 30 air pollution cases going on across Europe, all of which are being won.
James Thornton, founder and chief executive of ClientEarth:
“While climate change seems remote to people, dirty air is in their face, lungs and children. They are upset by it and want change. By cleaning up sources of air pollution, you clean up major sources of climate change.”
Find out more about ClientEarth in this interview with Founder and CEO James Thornton.
This team of atmospheric chemists has developed a breakthrough technology that effectively filters more than 95% of the harmful gases from the air.
Over the last two years, Greenhouse has been working with Airlabs to reduce people’s exposure to toxic air pollution and raise awareness about pollution in cities. Highlights include:
- the Airbubbl Kickstarter campaign – an advanced air purifier making the air in vehicles healthier to breathe;
- the UK’s first clean air store with Stella McCartney’s shop in London;
- the Pollution Pods – an innovative installation which helped visitors experience for themselves the effects of air pollution in five different global cities.
- London’s first clean air zone at Marylebone station – allowing commuters to breathe clean air.
This World Environment Day, be in with a chance of winning an Airbubbl – enter the competition here.
Plume Labs’ mission is to make environmental information accessible to all by making the invisible, visible. The company has created a connected air quality sensor – Flow – empowering people to detect air pollution around them. It can be strapped to your bag, your bike or your belt and is billed as a real-time measure of what’s in the air, anywhere.
Plume Labs has also developed a ground-breaking app, Air, revealing pollution peaks and fresh air moments worldwide and providing tips to stay healthy throughout the day.
To find out more, watch this Ted Talk with Plume’s founder and CEO Romain Lacombe.
Friends of the Earth
In 2017, Friends of the Earth (FoE) launched the Clean Air Campaign, raising awareness of the impact of air pollution and encouraging individuals to take action.
With children being particularly vulnerable to dirty air, FoE also developed a Clean Air School programme. The NGO has worked with over 1,300 primary schools to educate children on the dangers of dirty air and provided lesson plans and materials.
“The children thoroughly enjoyed the lessons in which they were encouraged to act as scientists investigating a problem. They learnt about NO2 and also helped to set up air monitoring tubes around the school to measure NO2 in our area.”
– Melanie Moore, Assistant Head, English Martyrs Catholic Primary School, Tower Hamlets, London
More recently, FoE has been campaigning against a No Deal Brexit to ensure clean air remains a top priority on the government’s environmental agenda.
Find out how you can join Friends of the Earth in tackling air pollution here.
Campaign for Better Transport
For 40 years, Campaign for Better Transport has fought for better public transport, walking and cycling, for the sake of communities and the environment. This independent charity uses innovative research to lobby national and local government to implement solutions to transport problems.
Campaign for Better Transport has already helped to change the UK Government's transport policy radically, away from building big roads and expanding airports and towards much more recognition of environmental and social impacts. In 2018, the campaign secured £2m in government support for electric cargo bikes. The charity is now calling for government investment in ultra-low emission buses on a national level and for a £4.8 billion investment in expanding the railway network.
Find out more about its work on air pollution here.
Greenhouse takes the mask challenge
As an agency focused on green pioneers who are building a more sustainable world, we support the #BeatAirPollution campaign and are taking the mask challenge to show leaders we want to breathe clean air.
If your organisation is working to combat air pollution, get in touch with our team to discuss how we can help increase your impact using the power of communications.