The Fact Maker

COP26: “Air Bubble” installation harnesses the power of nature to clean the polluted air children breathe

Otrivin brings the world’s first air-purifying “Air Bubble” to Glasgow, raising awareness of the world’s largest environmental health threat by showing what is possible whilst inspiring simple actions to breathe cleaner

Air pollution is considered the world’s largest environmental health threat2, with, according to the WHO, 93% of children breathing polluted air every day.

In a bid to raise awareness of the devastating health impact of this ‘invisible crisis’ and show what is possible, nasal health expert Otrivin has launched the Otrivin Air Bubble, a unique educational architecture, using biotechnology to purify the air.

The nose is one of our first lines of defence when it comes to filtering out particle pollutants from the air we breathe[4]. As a world leader in nasal health[5], Otrivin is demonstrating how innovative nature-based technology can expand the functionality of our nose to ‘clean’ the air our children breathe in polluted urban environments.

The presence of the Otrivin Air Bubble at COP26 in Glasgow, one of the UK’s most polluted cities[6], comes after a pilot project was erected in Poland, one of Europe’s most polluted countries[7]. What followed was a successful 6-month test of this technology in the city of Warsaw.[8]

By using microalgae to actively filter and re-metabolise pollution particles and carbon dioxide in a specially designed interactive environment, the Otrivin Air Bubble, Warsaw provided an 80% reduction in PM2.5 (particulate matter) levels on average[9], achieving healthier air quality levels and allowing visitors to experience cleaner air in an engaging way.

Whilst children contribute the least to air pollution, they are some of the most vulnerable to its effects[10]. Quicker breathing, taking in more air relative to their body weight and their still developing immune systems, means children will feel the burden of air pollution through their physical health now, and throughout their lifetime.

Farhad Nadeem, Otrivin Global Brand Director, comments, “Air pollution is a devasting global health issue that is only getting worse, and it is unacceptable that children bear the burden of it, yet they contribute the least to the problem. Otrivin exists to help people breathe better, so with the Air Bubble we wanted people to know that it is possible to clean the air we breathe whilst championing the need for us all to take individual action now, to breathe cleaner. The Otrivin Air Bubble is part of our ‘Actions to Breathe Cleaner’ campaign and provides an interactive way to teach visitors about air pollution. Alongside it, right now across the UK, school children are taking part in an air pollution monitoring and learning programme. Actions to Breathe Cleaner helps children discover through “detective like search” the quality of the air they breathe, the simple everyday actions they can take, such as finding a less polluted route to school, or simply washing their noses, the first line of defence.”

The Otrivin Air Bubble was developed in partnership with ecoLogicStudio, who specialize in developing scalable, nature-based architectural solutions for urban environments, addressing the imminent impact of climate change.

Dr. Marco Poletto, co-founder of ecoLogicStudio says, “The Air Bubble Glasgow is a biotechnological architecture made 99% of air, water and living algae cultures, wrapped into a thin, transparent, 100% recyclable TPU membrane. It has 24 bioreactors hosting living photosynthetic Chlorella sp algae cultures, which actively “eat” the polluting molecules as well as capture carbon dioxide to then release fresh clean oxygen. The Air Bubble is mainly powered by two renewable, unlimited sources of energy: the sun light and children’s instinctive drive to interact and learn. In this way it creates a purified microclimate, a true bubble of clean air.”

For the duration of COP26, visitors attending the Green Zone exhibitions are welcome to come down and immerse themselves in the interactive elements of the Otrivin Air Bubble and learn about science, biotechnology and innovative solutions for the urban realm.

Otrivin is hoping that by harnessing the power of health science, microbiology and architecture we will all be inspired to take immediate action against the health impact of air pollution.

Sarah McDonald, GSK Consumer Healthcare’s VP Sustainability comments, “As a consumer healthcare company, it is very clear to us that for people to be healthy, they need to be living in a healthy world. The two are intimately connected. People need clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, nutritious food to eat, and unfortunately, climate change is having an impact on all of those things. We hope Actions to Breathe Cleaner will inspire people and encourage them to implement some of the easy to adopt actions that can help them breathe cleaner such as changing their route to school, increasing ventilation at home, monitoring local air quality and taking care of their nasal health.”

In addition to the Air Bubble, Otrivin’s Actions to Breathe Cleaner is also aiming to create the largest movement of ‘young agents of change’ who will track their individual air quality data whilst receiving education about the small, personal daily actions they can take to help them breathe cleaner. Over 1,000 UK school children are the first to take part during COP26.

To learn more about what you can do to help mitigate against the impact of air pollution through easy to adopt actions visit Otrivin Global – YouTube and take better care of your nasal health.