Air Pollution Art
Guest blog by Julia Godsiff
We’ve covered in this blog before how the sad truth of air pollution can be used to create beautiful and impactful art. So we were excited to learn about Julia’s project to bring greater awareness through striking visual images. Submissions are invited to her online air pollution gallery of 17 works of art.
Julia, who lives in London, begins her online air exhibition with a personal statement of how increasing air pollution in the last few years has made her asthma much worse. She is not alone with this problem. She quotes the startling statistic that there are 5.4 million people in the UK currently registered with the NHS for asthma treatment, 1 million of which are children.
Julia describes the next painting as showing people playing, having fun or strolling in the park not realising that a cloud of air pollution is descending from above. This is called a temperature inversion. In the painting, each colour in the bars shows the source of a pollutant. Blue refers to emissions from sources that use fossil fuel to make electricity; orange highlights emissions from industrial processes; green shows emissions from vehicles; and purple is emissions from construction and agriculture.
In 2020 the US Environment Protection Agency acknowledged that the highest proportion of greenhouse gases (29%) is now caused by vehicles. DEFRA in the UK concurs that traffic is now the major source of air pollution. The number of petrol cars on the road is in the UK now over 40 million, and they are all pumping toxic levels of pollution into the air adding to greenhouse gases and causing climate change. Julia has a whole section answering the problems people express about electric cars and how to overcome them. While she totally supports using public transport, walking and cycling, there are millions of people who are elderly, disabled or need to drive for a living and for whom electric vehicles are a good alternative. Julia says, “each and every person who is driving a diesel or petrol vehicle has a choice not to do so”.
Readers of this blog will understand the challenges of electric vehicles and particulate matter. Julia explains that particulate matter (PM) is everything in the air that is not a gas and therefore consists of a huge variety of smog particles, some of which can be toxic. Due to the small size of many of the particles called PM 2.5, they can enter the bloodstream and be transported around the body, lodging in the heart, brain and other organs. Therefore, exposure to PM can result in serious impacts to health, especially in vulnerable groups such as the young, the elderly and those with respiratory problems like asthma. The final artwork that Julia would like to showcase here is all about PM.
Julia would like to welcome people sending her photos of art to do with air pollution which she will include in her online exhibition. She looks forward to having enough submissions to have an exhibition at a major art gallery. Please send your artwork to email@example.com. Thank you to Julia for being a guest contributor to our blog!
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