Air pollution - how on earth did I discover there was a problem with it on the tube? Over the Christmas holidays during my masters, we were asked to conduct a research project on one of the following topics - fast fashion, water waste or air pollution. Go on, guess which one I chose. Now my reason for choosing this was a selfish one. By choosing Air pollution, I knew that London was bound to have higher levels which meant I’d be able to spend a few extra weeks at home and my access to participants was a lot higher than the 25 people I knew at Loughborough by that point. That’s when I discovered a financial times article on how high air pollution was on the London Underground.
It was shocking to read how high our exposure was to air pollution on the tube, and what was worse is that nobody knew it was happening. Before my bachelors, I completed a foundation diploma in Art & Design at University of the Arts London, LCC in Elephant and Castle. Like many of you before the pandemic, I was commuting for 2 hours a day on the tube which was exhausting, but also had an impact on my health. During that time, I had tonsillitis approximately 8-10 times a year - no exaggeration. Doctors couldn’t understand the cause of it, but one GP had suggested that traveling on the tube for long periods of time was something my body wasn’t used to. Now I’m not saying it was the air pollution, but could it have made my throat problems worse than they were? We’ll never know, but it is a possibility.
There is not enough awareness about this problem, yet alone a solution. Does it bother you that you’re about to pay more money, for a method of transport that’s actually worse for your health? If it does, I’d like to hear from you. I’m currently taking my project back to basics by going back to speaking to you - the end user of my future app, so I can design something that focuses on your needs and is designed for you. Tell me how best to do that.