Improving air quality in the city
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 92% of the world’s population is exposed to harmful air pollution. In fact, poor air quality in cities is fast becoming
more concentrated due to urban infrastructures that retain pollutants and
greenhouse gases from transport and industries, creating hotspots, i.e. areas
of peak air pollution. To help tackle this issue, a British green-tech company called Airlabs has developed a technology that combines atmospheric chemistry and airflow engineering alongside a proprietary dual filter system combining nano-particles. Sound complicated? Not really. Simply stated, it is a filter, which draws in dirty air, cleans it, and then pumps out healthy, clean air into the area surrounding the system. The result is the creation of clean air zones where more than 95% of all fine particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), pollutants and greenhouse gases (nitrogen and sulphur oxides, ozone, etc.) is removed, meaning Marylebone can breathe easy.
Investing in business to create positive impact
Convinced that finance should play a key role in reaching the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and fully committed to impact investment, BNP Paribas’ objective for this project was twofold. One, bring immediate benefit to the 450,000 weekly users of the station and local community of Marylebone, a neighbourhood known for its poor air quality. And two, raise awareness of the fight against air pollution and the importance of UN Global Goals.
“Air pollution is a public health emergency causing seven million premature deaths annually. We therefore welcome BNP Paribas’s leadership and contribution to restoring clean air, a basic human right. Air pollution and climate change can seem insurmountable, but when the power of innovation is unleashed, and the private sector takes on its responsibility we can overcome these challenges for current and future generations” said Assistant Secretary General Satya Tripathi, UN Environment.
BNP Paribas in the UK, which has its head office near Marylebone station, therefore contacted Airlabs to use their new technology and Chiltern Railways to get their buy in. JCDecaux modified the existing Out Of Home advertising sites in the station to house the filters. The result is that Marylebone is the first UK train station to offer clean air zones, which will benefit millions of people as well as help demonstrate the Group’s desire to:
- support start-ups involved in green tech
- collaborate with clients and local partners to create positive impact
- make SDGs the focus of its financing and investment policy
Photo credits : header ©Pio3 // BNP Paribas UK