Young Londoners launch independent air pollution billboard campaign
the campaign: http://www.cleanairnow.org.uk/campaign.html
Young Londoners concerned about air pollution from traffic have launched an independent billboard campaign to warn their peers of the dangers of diesel fumes.
Artists Vasilisa Forbes and Claire Matthews, together with photographer Terry Paul and a group of 16 to 25-year-old volunteers, have printed 12 large 20 x 12-foot posters which will appear for months on some of London’s most polluted streets.
“We have been living in London all our lives. We decided to set up a forum to see if people felt the same way as us. Everyone who responded said ‘we are suffering’. We realised that young people are not particularly aware of air pollution or bothered by it. There was definitely a gap in the age groups and we wanted to raise awareness with them,” said Forbes.
Forbes and the group, calling the campaign Clean Air Now, intend to use posters, billboards and street art to raise awareness of pollution. They have paid for the printing of the 48-sheet posters themselves and received no corporate sponsorship or other funding. A billboard company offered them free space.
“The idea was to take billboard space for other than adverstising. Billboards, due to their size and scale, are a great way to talk about this issue – they hover over London just like the pollution itself,” she said.
They quote government figures stating that polluted air kills 9,000 people prematurely in London each year. “Can we really continue to destroy ourselves, each other and the planet purely because of our desire for easy transportation?” asks the website.
The group members all live and work in inner-London. “I experience bad air daily living near London Bridge. Claire was working in Tottenham Court Road where she resorted to buying nose-plugs to ward off the horrible fumes she encountered daily. She realised walking to work was actually making her ill,” said Forbes.
The first posters will go up in Bethnal Green high street, one of London’s busiest roads, to be followed by others at Marble Arch, Kensington and elsewhere.
The Guardian 16-08-2016