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A billboard in Leicester Square is helping to purify London’s air

By Stephanie Hartman

It doesn’t bring us great joy sharing news of London’s worrying pollution levels and the city’s ability to breach pollution limits within five days of entering 2017, but luckily there are a number of initiatives working hard to clean up the city's air. Scientists are building drones to help monitor levels, and Sadiq Khan recently announced that two new electric-only bus routes will be introduced next spring and a ‘Toxicity charge’ will soon be applied to London’s dirtiest vehicles. 

And if that doesn’t help you breathe easy, this might: a billboard erected in Leicester Square is expected to reverse emissions of over 13,000 cars. Designed by Italian inventors Anemotech, it’s made from a fabric called the ‘The Breath’ and is billed as a simple material that adsorbs and disaggregates polluting molecules.

The mesh fabric traps pollutants, allowing cleaner, more breathable air to continue circulating and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Offices, schools and homes can have it installed to eradicate odours and increase the quality of air, while public outdoor applications can reverse the impact of smog and pollution across our cities. Anemotech has teamed up with media company Urban Vision, which specialises in the sponsored restoration of historical monuments and buildings across Europe, and who will use the material on all of its future advertisements in London and Italy.

Anemotech said: ‘We estimate that just two 10m² sheets of the material correctly positioned in the Leicester Square over one year could cancel out nitrogen oxide emissions from 5,475 diesel vehicles and volatile organic compounds emitted from 13,650 unleaded cars.’

Sounds like we better cover London’s skyscrapers in the stuff, stat.

In other green news: there’s a huge hanging flower installation in Greenwich.

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