E.ON tackles air-quality crisis with 16ft lungs

Work aims to make air pollution visible to Londoners.

The lungs will fill with coloured smoke to raise awareness towards air pollution.
The lungs will fill with coloured smoke to raise awareness towards air pollution.

On a mission to highlight the perils of air pollution in the Big Smoke, E.ON has erected a 16ft activation on London’s South Bank.

Created by Engine, "London’s lungs" features a pair of lungs that are connected to a live feed of air-quality data from Greater London. These will fill up with different-coloured smokes to represent nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and noxious particles being inhaled by Londoners on a daily basis.

According to a report by the World Health Organization, air pollution is quickly becoming one of the UK’s most serious health issues, with The Guardian reporting that the presence of particulates and polluting gases is causing one in 20 deaths across the region. 

"Air pollution and climate change are driving a clear deterioration in public health, but the causes often go unseen or unnoticed," Belinda Moore, director of marketing and communications at E.ON UK, said. 

"With our 'lungs' installation, we wanted to make an obvious – and, in some way, shocking – visual statement to bring poor air quality to life.

"People want to be part of the change we need and it’s vital we help them take a stand, both in terms of highlighting the problem and taking action to deliver tangible solutions."

Supported by PR, print, radio, out-of-home and digital activity, the campaign was unveiled ahead of the week-long Global Climate Strike, led by Greta Thunberg, and London Car Free Day on 22 September.

The film was created by Brendan Wilkins, Paul Hancock and Dave Newbold, and directed by James Lees through Outsider. The media agency is Vizeum. The installation was made by the Ministry of Fun.