WATCH: ‘Pollution pods’ spotlight air quality crisis at COP28

British artist Michael Pinsky unveiled his immersive statement in Dubai, mimicking atmospheric data from three global cities. 

The series of domed structures contain carefully controlled climates that replicate the air citizens in Beijing, London and New Delhi are breathing in.

According to Regina Zhyldyzbekova of the Clean Air Fund, the ‘pollution pods’ simulate the real life readings from air quality monitoring stations in the capitals of China, the UK and India. A fourth dome offers a sense of what the air we breathe may be like if pollution reducing technologies are deployed at scale.

Although London recently expanded its Ultra Low Emission Zone, making it the largest of its kind in the world, the city is still regularly registering levels of harmful pollutants in excess of World Health Organisation maximum limits. Meanwhile, Beijing and New Delhi are considered two of the world’s worst case regions for toxic air.

‘Some people would refuse to go to New Delhi or Beijing because it is very polluted and it is not possible to stay [in the pod] even for five minutes,’ Zhyldyzbekova told The National. ‘A lot of people stay in polluted cities and they get used to that air environment. The pods remind people about the propylene and how we need to do something about it.’

COP28, which is hosted by United Arab Emirates in Dubai, has already made air quality headlines after the climate summit opened on thick smog over the city. Human Rights Watch also warned of state’s toxic air situation, with PM2.5 fine particulate matter registering more than WHO limits.

In more positive news, the conference, which officially ends tomorrow, also saw a further eight major urban areas sign up for the Breathe Cities initiative, which aims to cut air pollution by 30% this decade. Local governments representing some of the largest metropolitan areas on the planet also rallied together with a message to national leaders that air pollution must be a priority. And, elsewhere, a new Global Cooling Pledge was established to control emissions from air conditioning and other methods of climate control, with leading dairy companies also launching a new methane alliance.

More on COP28:

COP28: ‘Break the destructive cycle of climate change and air pollution’


Local governments step up to end fossil fuels at COP28


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