ENVIRONMENT: COP26 arrives at Gartnavel Hospital campus

By Lucy Ashton

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Gartnavel Hospitals are highlighting the impact of air pollution on health during COP26, by hosting an awareness raising art installation.

The Pollution Pods, by artist Michael Pinsky, are a series of geodesic domes whose air quality, smell and temperature safely and accurately recreate the pollution of five different locations on three continents: London, Beijing, São Paulo, New Delhi and Tautra, a remote peninsula in Norway.

Michael Pinsky created the pods in 2017 to test whether art can change people’s perceptions of, and actions around, climate change.

Jackie Sands, Arts and Health Improvement Senior said: “This is such a great example of an artist engaging with the global climate emergency. Using an art installation to explain what is happening in environments around the world and gives people the opportunity to actually engage with how our senses and health are impacted by higher levels of pollution.

“Art should encourage people to question, act and engage and this project does just that. We’re very pleased to be able to house the Pollution Pods at Gartnavel Hospitals during COP26.”

The pods, which are now open to the public, also played a key role in welcoming health professionals who cycled from London to Glasgow, to highlight the impact of air pollution on health, ahead of COP26 on Sunday October 31.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Chairman, Professor John Brown CBE, pictured right,  said: “We all know that Air Pollution is the most universal of the deadly health impacts of climate change. It causes an estimated 7 million preventable deaths every year around the world with our children being especially vulnerable because their lungs are still developing.

“The Pollution Pods are a great example of how art can be used to raise awareness and create conversation around this important issue. Those attending COP26 need to look at this evidence, listen to our concerns and act on them.”

Martin Johnston, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Sustainability Manager added: “As Glasgow welcomes COP26 to the city, it’s great to host Michael Pinksy’s Pollution Pods to at Gartnavel Hospitals. This interactive artwork allows visitors to explore air quality conditions from across the world and acts as an important reminder of the link between human health and the climate crisis.

“Healthcare is on the frontline when it comes to the impacts of climate change, and as such we work to improve NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s resilience whilst embedding sustainability at the core of what we do.”

The Pollution Pods will remain open to the public at Gartnavel Hospitals until Friday November 12.

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