Coughing teddy reveals high pollution in Earlsfield

A pollution-fighting teddy bear revealed dangerous levels of invisible particles in Earlsfield last week.

The animatronic Toxic Toby can move his head, raise his arms and, thanks to the real-time pollution data he is linked to, detect dangerous pollutants unseen to the human eye.

Toxic Toby was in Earlsfield last Wednesday at the request of Wandsworth Labour councillor Jo Rigby.

Councillor Rigby said: “We invited Toxic Toby to check out the air quality around the station.

“He didn’t enjoy the experience!”

Toxic Toby was created by advertising company McCann London and air-quality data experts BreezoMeter to raise public awareness of the danger posed by London’s polluted air.

McCann creative James Crosby said Toby detected 28.34 micrograms of particulate PM2.5, almost three times the World Health Organisation’s recommended limit.

Particulates are tiny particles released into the air by road transport, industry and fires.

AIR QUALITY: Sites allow you to check the pollution levels in your area. From BreezoMeter, with thanks.

Long-term exposure to particulate pollution is thought to be a contributing factor in an estimated 25,000 deaths according to Public Health England.

McCann London Chief Creative Officer, Laurence Thomson, said: “We think a cute, cuddly, coughing teddy bear, set up as a roadside memorial, will provide the rude awakening needed to give this public health issue the attention it deserves.”

High levels of particulate pollution are associated with cancer, respiratory diseases and asthma.

Mr Crosby said: “The problem with pollution is that it’s invisible, so many are oblivious to the potential harmful gases and dangerous particles they are breathing in on a day to day basis.”

“Toxic Toby puts pollution and its harmful effects right in front of people eyes with something they can’t ignore.”

Councillor Rigby called on Earlsfield residents to help tackle pollution by taking alternative forms of transport such as walking, cycling or public transport.

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