After London air pollution levels surpassed allowed limits for 2017 just five days into the new year, new initiatives to improve air quality and draw attention to the city’s growing pollution problem have been popping up on the regular. In January, Ford announced that it was teaming up with local government to launch the Ford Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid Van Pilot Program and the city has begun to roll out ultra-low emissions zones and fleets of hybrid and zero-emission buses to help drive London towards a zero-emission future.
Now, The Body Shop, JCDecaux and scientific research and design organization Airlabs are teaming up to create clean air zones at bus stops in three-highly polluted spots in central London.
The Body Shop is facilitating the move by incorporating Airlabs’ tailor made filtration system, which removes harmful pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter from the air) into its brand advertising at three bus stops on New Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road and High Holborn. The ads are expected to deliver up 95 percent cleaner air, helping reduce pollution exposure of passengers while waiting for their bus.
The system works by trapping harmful particles (PM2.5) via a filtration system before gas pollutants, such as NO2, are absorbed, with cleaner air delivered to people in the immediate vicinity. The clean air emitted by the units could fill more than 80 buses every day.
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“While these air cleaning units have yet to be introduced on a wider scale, we’re making a start to help protect Londoners from air pollution exposure, as well as help raise awareness of this incredible technology available,” said Elen MacAskill, Marketing and Corporate Responsibility Director at The Body Shop UK. “We are calling on other businesses, transport operators, bus stop site owners and brands to follow this industry leading approach. The technology can help reduce urban pollution exposure for thousands of people every day where nitrogen dioxide levels exceed the legal limit.”
According to Airlabs CEO and Co-Founder Sophie Power, Londoners’ life expectancy is reduced by as much as 16 months because of extended exposure to air pollution. Currently, forty-four percent of the city’s working population, or 3.8 million people, works in parts of London that are exposed to elevated levels of NO2 daily.
“It is vital that more is done to address this issue and it is our view that by working with the government and other key stakeholders, a viable solution can be developed to provide better quality air for the city’s population. We believe this project will showcase the role our technology can play in reducing the levels of exposure the city’s population is being exposed to,” Powers said.
The campaign was rolled out early last week and will run until the 18th of June.
The Body Shop and Airlabs aren’t the first to test-drive air pollution-reducing advertising. Automaker Toyota teamed up with Clear Channel Outdoor Americas to install eco-billboards across Los Angeles and San Francisco to create 24,960 square feet of pollution scrubbing surface to reverse the equivalent of 5,285 vehicles worth of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions per month.