invisible world of air pollution "Mould spores trapped on filter fibers" - SEM Image from IQAir

Every year in June, the Green Week Conference - the biggest annual conference on European environmental policy, is held in Brussels. The conference offers a unique opportunity for debate and exchange between non-governmental organisations, scientists and regulators that are involved in protecting the environment. This year, IQAir partnered with the European Commission to help raise awareness of air pollution.

The theme this year was “Clean Air for All” - a theme that inspired IQAir to work with award winning science photographer, Stefan Diller, to prepare a photo exhibition for the conference. The exhibition featured Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) images of microscopic pollutants and allergens, in the nano- and micro-meter range. These spectacular images were a 100,000 magnification of particulates that surround us, such as pollen, diesel soot, pet dander and mould spores. The intention of the exhibition was to help to “visualise the invisible world of air pollution”.

In recognition of both the seriousness of air pollution and the impact it has on humans, Janez Potocnik, the European Commissioner for the Environment, declared 2013 as the “Year of Air”. “Air Pollution is a global challenge that does not stop at country borders nor at front doors”, said Potocnik, while Professor Jacqueline McGlade, the Executive Director of the European Environmental Agency (EEA) warned that, “Lives are being cut short by air pollution, and chronic respiratory disease makes life miserable for many across the continent”.

As well as being the “Year of Air”, 2013 is also the year that IQAir are celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary. IQAir’s CEO, Frank Hammes says, “Improving the air we breathe is incredibly important. Air pollution threatens the healthy development of our children and contributes to serious diseases, including asthma and cancer. Our goal for the past 50 years has been to provide practical solutions that supplement the efforts by governmental and non-government organisations to reduce our exposure to air pollutants. We are glad to work with the European Commission to bring awareness to this cause.”

To learn more about IQAir, please click here.