‘Pollution pods’ at King’s Cross station will recreate air quality in New Delhi and Beijing

·2-min read
‘Pollution pods’ at King’s Cross station will recreate air quality in New Delhi and Beijing

The dense smog of Beijing and the suffocating haze of New Delhi will be recreated in a series of ‘Pollution Pods’ set to be installed in King’s Cross on Friday.

The immersive art installation, located in Granary Square, will replicate the environments of five different global locations to convey the “visceral experience of air pollution” and its effect on human health.

Londoners will be able to compare the air quality in their city to the Chinese and Indian capitals as well as São Paolo and Tautra, a remote island near Trondheim in Norway which is said to have some of the cleanest air on earth.

British artist Michael Pinsky, who created the pods, worked with a range of specialists to reproduce the air quality, temperature and smell of the five locations.

The pods will then make their way to the COP26 conference in Glasgow, where world leaders will gather later this month to agree ambitious targets on reducing CO2 emissions.

Mr Pinsky said: “In the Pollution Pods, I have tried to distil the whole bodily sense of being in each place.

“For instance, being in São Paulo seems like a sanctuary compared to New Delhi, until your eyes start to water from the sensation of ethanol, whilst Tautra is unlike any air you’ll have ever breathed before, it is so pure.

“The pods and riders can convey to COP26 the visceral experience of air pollution, the clinical expertise on the harm to our bodies, and the impact on people in the UK and around the world, making it much harder for politicians to ignore.”

Londoners will be able to compare the air quality in their city to that in Tautra, a remote island in Norway (Michael Pinsky)
Londoners will be able to compare the air quality in their city to that in Tautra, a remote island in Norway (Michael Pinsky)

The COP26 conference is seen as the most important UN climate meeting since Paris in 2015, when countries agreed to the goal of keeping global temperatures at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century.

The pods will be accompanied by Ride for their Lives - staff from six UK children’s hospitals who are cycling 800km from London to the conference in Glasgow with the domes.

At each stop the riders, who include Great Ormond Street Hospital chief executive Matt Shaw and British Medical Journal editor in chief Fiona Godlee, will gather by the pods to speak about the impact of climate change on air pollution.

The installation of the pods comes after Sadiq Khan was urged to introduce a “pay per mile” road charge to combat air pollution in London.

Analysis by City Hall found that BAME Londoners and those in poorer areas were more likely to suffer the effects of poor air quality. The data found that nitrogen dioxide levels were up to 13 per cent higher in the most deprived areas of the capital compared with the least deprived.

The pollution pods will be in Granary Square, King’s Cross from Saturday 16 October to Sunday 24 October.

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