Over the last decade, natural disasters have affected more than 220 million people and caused economic damage of US$100billion per year. By 2030, without significant investment, natural disasters may cost cities worldwide that amount a year.
Hundreds of cities around the world are struggling with the impact of urbanisation combined with natural crises. Conflicts, natural disasters, climate change and economic stress mean that cities need more support to become resilient. It is for this reason that the United Nations has chosen the theme of ‘Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities’ for this year’s World Cities Day.
The UN has identified a pressing need for innovative tools and approaches that strengthen local administrations and empower citizens, while building their capacity to face new challenges and better protect human, economic and natural assets.
One area where there is an increasingly urgent need for pioneering solutions is air pollution. Just this week, two new studies found that air pollution causes half a million premature deaths in Europe each year and that more than 90% of the world’s young people are breathing toxic air.
As a result, the director general of the World Health Organisation has urged commitment from government, community leaders and the private sector to take urgent action to halt this ‘silent public health emergency’.
“We need strong commitments and actions from everyone: government decision-makers, community leaders, mayors, civil society, the private sector and even the individual. It will take time and endurance but we all have a critical role to play.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organisation
Marylebone station’s clean air zone
In response to this growing need for action and commitment, Greenhouse has today helped to launch the UK’s first ‘clean air station’ at Marylebone. A partnership between technology start-up Airlabs, global bank BNP Paribas, advertising experts JCDecaux and Chiltern Railways, has seen Marylebone Station become home to innovative air cleaning technology, with the launch of four large clean air zones.
The initiative adapts traditional Out Of Home (OOH) advertising space to emit clean air in the area immediately around the units, significantly improving air quality and creating a healthier environment to live and work. It uses Airlabs’ proprietary dual filter system to remove more than 95% of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides from the air.
The world’s first ‘clean air station’ is an example of the technology already available to solve a growing global emergency. While on a small scale, it is proof of what could be rolled out across cities globally, given the right investment.
The project has received widespread national and global interest, with Greenhouse coordinating the launch, securing coverage in the Evening Standard, Sky News, BBC Radio 5 Live. The press coverage focuses on the need for innovative solutions and positively positions the partners in their quest to take action to clean the air we breathe throughout the day.
Greenhouse is proud to work with pioneers making tangible steps towards a greener, cleaner, more sustainable world. If you’re a tech pioneer, or an established business looking to make your impact known, we’d love to help you tell your story. Get in touch to see how we can help.