As a born and raised Londoner, the London Underground has been a key method of transport throughout my life. Whilst it’s without a doubt one of the best transportation systems in the world, I discovered that using it was exposing us to PM2.5 (air pollution) up to 7x above the World health organisation's recommended safe limit. During a ‘designing for behavior change’ project during my masters in User Experience design, I went off to research air pollution issues in the UK & was shocked to discover how polluted the London Underground was. The tube is the most environmentally friendly and cost efficient way to travel around the city, however it’s not safe for the people using it. CAIR London is raising awareness on the tube’s current air pollution problem, and through a mobile app generating lower polluted routes for users to travel on creating a safer journey and healthier experience.
When I was 18, I had an occurring case of tonsillitis which went on for 3 years until I eventually had to have surgery to remove them. When exploring with doctors what was the sudden cause of this, the only difference there was to my day to day routine was traveling on the deeper London Underground lines which I now know are severely polluted. I may not be able to say with certainty that this was the cause of my recurring illness, but I know that there are Londoners out there with conditions such as asthma, who should be aware of the problem, and have a choice in how they travel so it has less of an impact on their health.
CAIR London was an award winning idea in 2020, but the moment which pushed me to turn this into a business was in 2021 when my dad took his last breath on a ventilator after going into hospital with an underlying illness and catching covid. We all experienced the detrimental impacts of a lung based virus and how our health needed to become a priority, but after seeing people struggling to breathe on a covid ward it became much more personal to me. Nobody should have to struggle to breathe through consequences of something out of their control. Traveling to work, using the tube to visit family or meet friends in Central London should not come at the cost of our health - and what’s worse, is that nobody seems to be aware of the problem.