A ground-breaking material hailed by medical experts for its ability to absorb harmful airborne molecules and disperse cleaner air has been launched in Leicester Square.
“The Breath” was created by a team of leading Italian researchers and has been rolled out across several European cities, including Rome and Milan, over the last three years.
The material is now being brought to London as part of a corporate partnership between The Breath and media company Urban Vision.
Urban Vision is to attach sheets of the air-cleaning substance to all of its outdoor advertising sites in the capital in a bid to remove damaging pollutants from the air.
The launch of The Breath follows a series of alarming studies warning of the dangers posed by air pollution to Londoners.
The Breath can be used for both indoor and outdoor purposes, including for office workstations, classrooms and most interestingly possibly fot public advertising spaces. Utilising this material it would be possible to create advertising that tackles pollution directly.
Last week a study commissioned by London Mayor Sadiq Khan found that tens of thousands of children in the capital’s schools are exposed to illegal levels of air pollution that can permanently damage their health.
Another study conducted by Kings College London found that in 2010 dirty air contributed to up to 9,500 deaths in London.
The same study estimated the annual economic cost of these health impacts was equivalent to £3.7 billion.
Gianluca de Marchi, president of Urban Vision, said: “More needs to be done to tackle the scourge of air pollution.
“I believe the use of innovative technologies such as The Breath will help to contribute towards improving the health of Londoners.
“Urban Vision has a strong reputation for looking after cultural and historical beauty in some of the world’s most important cities. But today we can say that our work also contributes to improving the environment and protecting people’s health from the harmful effects of air pollution.”
The material uses a series of nano-molecules and the local atmosphere’s natural air flow to remove harmful pollutants such as nitrous oxides, sulphur oxides and particulates.
The Breath’s Italian inventors claim that once the material is installed it can absorb high concentrations of air pollution within a 25-metre area.
By installing 250 sq/m of the material over a one-year period, The Breath’s inventors say its impact on the environment is the equivalent of removing pollution from over 750,000 unleaded vehicles and 300,000 diesel cars.
The Breath, which has won a series of technological and innovation awards in Italy, was hailed last year by Professor Umberto Veronesi – the former scientific director at the European Institute for Oncology.
In March 2016, he said The Breath was a good example of the benefits from the alliance between technology and science, which he said was important in helping to “win the fight in the treatment and prevention of cancer”.
Initial tests from 1-4 Leicester Square carried out by Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Italy last autumn have proved to be positive.
Using these initial results, researchers at The Breath estimate that just two 10 m² sheets of The Breath correctly positioned in the square over a one-year period could cancel out nitrogen oxide emissions from 5,475 diesel vehicles and unleaded cars.
Utilising this material to create advertising hoardings and billboards could help tackle some of the pollution created in urban areas, it is early days for the material but it seems like a real potential game changer for urban advertising.