In a recent urban intervention, Greenpeace activists installed a series of air pollution masks on public statues around the capital city of London, England. Designed by the artist, Christopher Kelly, the masks are all unique to every statue, and took a month of making and organizing to accomplish. Wearing safety vests with the emblem “Statue Cleaning Team,” activists scaled 18 statues in one morning. Greenpeace wants the acts to raise awareness toward dangerous levels of air pollution in London. According to a recent study carried out by researchers from King’s College London, nearly 9,500 people die early each year in London due to long-term exposure to air pollution, more than twice as many as previously thought.
Greenpeace states, “At the moment, [Mayor] Boris Johnson has put forward a proposal for an ultra-low emission zone, but that only covers the area of the congestion zone, which is a very small area in central London,” Morozzo told Vice. “So we’re calling for a clean air zone to cover a much larger area of London to be brought in sooner than 2020. We’re saying at least by 2019, and we need it to be stricter, to protect the lungs of most Londoners — not just a few of them.”
The 170ft tall Nelson’s Column at Trafalgar Square. Greenpeace activists climbing Nelson’s Column (photo © Jiri Rezac : Greenpeace)