Far from the dense smogs of the 1950s, today’s noxious air pollution goes virtually unseen. Now two London artists are rallying to raise awareness of the UK’s illegally dirty air – and why it is so important to speak up about the problem.
Artists Vasilisa Forbes, who previously ran a billboard campaign on female body image, and Claire Matthews are launching Clean Air Now. It’s a series of huge billboard posters in the UK capital, shot by photographer Terry Paul. They show mask-wearing city-dwellers and sketch statistics on how air pollution is damaging our health. The first one will appear in Bethnal Green this week.
Why we need Clean Air Now
The campaign targets the city’s younger generations, who, according to Forbes and Matthews, generally lack awareness about air pollution.
Simon Alcock, of environmental lawyers ClientEarth, said: “London’s toxic air is largely invisible, which means many people don’t realise what a serious threat to their health it is. These striking images are aimed at getting people to think about the problem and how they can be part of the solution. That can only be a good thing.”
Air pollution levels across the UK consistently break legal limits, with several London boroughs surpassing their annual limits within a single week of 2016 starting.
Simon added: “Everyone has the right to breathe clean air. A new Clean Air Act in the UK would be the best way to ensure this happens.”
ClientEarth is taking the UK government back to court on 18 and 19 October this year, over its continued failure to make plans that protect people from toxic air.