London, like many of the world’s largest cities, is plagued by pollution.
According to a recent article in the Evening Standard, poor air quality is one of Britain’s biggest public health threats, second only to smoking.
With dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide tainting the air we breathe, environmental recovery is the only way forward: we need to invest in green technologies and embrace new innovations in this field in order to save our home.
Tech startups are taking on the challenge of reducing our massive carbon footprint through fresh, creative methods. It’s one facet of the tech industry that’s experiencing massive and rapid expansion, growing at 6 percent per year and totalling billions of pounds per year.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson has plans to make a ‘clean tech hub’ in west London to solidify London’s title as the ‘green tech capital in Europe’.
But Boris isn’t the only one. Here are some of the heroes championing environmentally-friendly solutions to our pollution problem.
Harnessing the power of the sun
Founded in 2013 by LSE geography students Harold and Kirsty, solarbox transforms old phone boxes into free, solar-powered charging stations.
Since their first kiosk launched in October 2014 at Tottenham Court Road, the company has received global recognition for their idea, and the two co-founders have plans to expand the concept to other cities.
Taking a largely obsolete object like a phone box and turning it into something new and green is just one example of how new technology is making waves.
Absorbing pollution through walls
Parose Projects, which focuses on delivering projects in sustainable transport, public realm and transport-led regeneration, has developed a ‘green wall’.
Funded by Redbridge Council and the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund, the green wall at Winston Way Primary School is a free-standing structure covered in greenery.
Not only does this absorb harmful emissions, it will hopefully inspire the children to get interested in green technologies.
One of the most persistent problems in many urban areas, no matter what side of the pond you’re on, is congestion: lengthy traffic jams that are as irritating as they are harmful to the environment.
Silicon Valley tech startup Urban Engines are trying to solve this problem with an app designed to reduce congestion. Equipped with data insights, Urban Engines tracks commuter habits and encourages travel outside peak travel times using incentives and contests.
Power grids of the future
Another California-based company championing green technology is Smart Wires, a grid solution company in the San Francisco Bay Area. They are developing the technology to monitor and redirect the flow of power, improve utilisation from existing wires and lower energy costs.
Their technology is used to explore new ways of reducing congestion, improving network utilisation, managing changing generation profiles and maintaining reliable electric services.
The rise of the green economy
Environmental solutions are becoming a vital part of our tech industry, thanks to the number of startups pioneering green innovations.
In London alone, the green economy has reached almost £30 billion a year, with more than 160,000 jobs in the sector.
These numbers promise to grow, as the need to reduce pollution becomes more and more urgent not only to protect the planet, but to protect our own health and well-being.
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