Air-cleaning technology fitted at Marylebone Station
BNP Paribas, Chiltern Railways and advertising firm JCDecaux have teamed up with Danish startup Airlabs to showcase cutting-edge air filter technology at London's Marylebone Station today (31 October).
To mark the United Nations’ (UN) World Cities Day and to bring attention to the capital’s air pollution problem, the companies have installed a dual filter system inside the station’s advertising stands in a bid to create clean pockets of air.
The filtration system is able to remove up to 95% of traffic fumes and residual airborne pollutants, according to Airlabs.
Airlabs’ co-founder Sophie Power said the idea of the partnership was to draw attention to the fact that while Transport for London (TfL) monitors air quality outside of 40 tube and train stations, airborne pollutants inside stations are not currently tracked.
“From our research, we know that there are air pollution hotspots across the transport network, where our clean air technology could be used to reduce exposure,” Power said.
“However, these are not currently picked up by official monitoring stations. We need to do more to protect people in their workplace, as well as during their commute, which starts with understanding their exposure.”
Overall, the capital reached the legal toxic air limit for the whole of 2018 less than a month into the year. Since then, the Government has published its new clean air strategy, which it claims will reduce the costs of air pollution to society by an estimated £1bn every year by 2020.
The partnership between BNP Paribas, Chiltern Railways and JCDecaux follows from both Stella McCartney and The Body Shop in trialling Airlabs technology in London. Earlier this year, Stella McCartney fitted its new Bond Street store with the filters, while The Body Shop fitted technology at three bus stop sites in New Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road and High Holborn in 2017.
Children at risk
The trial of the technology at Marylebone comes just a day after the World Health Organisation (WHO) unveiled new research claiming that 93% of all children globally are living in areas which breach its recommended guidelines for air pollution.
The WHO report reveals that the number of children under five to be affected by air pollution globally has reached 630 million, with 98% of these children living in low or middle-income nations.
The report additionally claims that 9% of the deaths attributed to the joint effects of ambient and household air pollution in 2016 were children under 15.
In total, 595,000 people aged 15 or under across the world died as a result of exposure to airborne pollutants in 2016, the report states.
“Children are society’s future, but they are also its most vulnerable members,” the report states.
“The immense threat posed to their health by air pollution demands that health professionals respond with focused, urgent action. Although more rigorous research into how air pollution affects children’s health will continue to be valuable, there is already ample evidence to justify strong, swift action to prevent the damage it clearly produces.”
The findings come after a recent WHO study concluded that pollution inequality between the world's rich and poor is widening, with seven million people - mostly in developing nations - dying every year from exposure to airborne contaminants.