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London’s Marylebone Station is set to become home to innovative air cleaning technology, with the launch of four large clean air zones. The installation, which marks United Nations World Cities Day (WCD), has been designed by Airlabs – a team of atmospheric chemists and airflow engineers dedicated to reducing people’s exposure to air pollution.

The initiative adapts traditional Out Of Home (OOH) advertising space to emit clean air in the area immediately around the units, significantly improving air quality and creating a healthier environment to live and work. It is being led by BNP Paribas, in partnership with Airlabs, Chiltern Railways, and JCDecaux. 

Airlabs’ proprietary dual filter system will sit within the specially adapted advertising units provided by JCDecaux, which will remove particulate matter and nitrogen oxides from the air. 

Sophie Power, co-founder of Airlabs said: 
“The 40 official air quality monitoring stations in London only measure the air directly surrounding them. But what really matters to our health is the air that we actually breathe throughout our day – while commuting, working and at home. 

“From our research, we know that there are air pollution hotspots across the transport network, where our clean air technology could be used to reduce exposure. However, these are not currently picked up by official monitoring stations. We need to do more to protect people in their workplace, as well as during their commute, which starts with understanding their exposure.” 

Air pollution in London reached the legal limit for the whole of 2018 less than a month into the year. It removes an estimated 16 months from the lives of Londoners, while 92% of the world’s population is exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution. Airlabs aims to draw attention to the issue of air pollution across global cities and to showcase the technology that can protect urban populations now.  Airlabs technology is highly flexible and can create clean air zones almost anywhere across a city – whether installed directly into building ventilation systems, inside vehicles or creatively into OOH advertising like in Marylebone Railway Station.  

 Anne Marie Verstraeten, UK Country Head, BNP Paribas said: 
“BNP Paribas has integrated the UN Sustainable Development Goals into its business globally and as part of this is committed to developing solutions which contribute to the long-term sustainability of our cities. Where we have an opportunity to partner with our clients, start-ups and the local community to make an immediate, positive impact we should take it, and that’s just what we’ve done here. We hope that our employees, clients – many of whom use Marylebone station daily – and local community, will enjoy and benefit from the clean air zones.”

Philip Thomas, Co-Chief Executive Officer at JCDecaux UK said, “JCDecaux is delighted to be involved in BNP Paribas’ Clean Air Partnership alongside Airlabs and Chiltern, companies that share a commitment to sustainability, resulting in this exciting year-long environmental initiative. This inspirational campaign delivers on three fronts – raising public awareness about the global issues of pollution, delivering cleaner air to the 14 million people visiting Marylebone station every year and providing a powerful communications’ platform for BNP Paribas.  This campaign underlines the power of OOH to champion social causes and to make a difference to the travelling public.”

Dave Penney, Managing Director of Chiltern Railways said: 
“This exciting partnership with Airlabs, JC Decaux and BNP Paribas is a great opportunity for Chiltern Railways to continue to minimise our environmental impact and compliments the work we are doing to introduce hybrid trains to our network. Chiltern Railways takes seriously its role in reducing pollution and we believe this technology from Airlabs will provide a better environment for our passengers, neighbours and staff at Marylebone.”