Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Environment

This Necklace Shows Just How Clean (or Dirty) Your Air Is

Stefanie Posavec

Air pollution can be hard to quantify for people that live in areas with relatively clean air. Charts, graphs, and pollution counts don’t always make the situation real to the average person. To fix this, a designer and data scientist in the United Kingdom created a tangible and beautiful representation of pollution that can be worn.

Air Transformed is a series of wearable data objects,” according to the duo’s website. “Though seemingly decorative, they are based entirely on open air-quality data from Sheffield, UK, a former steel-making city and notorious for its bad air.”

Read More:The Cities With the Worst Air Pollution Aren't the Ones You Would Think

The project is the brainchild of designer Stefanie Posavec and data scientist Miriam Quick. The pair created a set of necklaces and sunglasses that make pollution readings tangible.

Pollution-Necklace-Jewelry-Wearable-Tech-BODY-Pic of Stefanie and Miriam in glasses.jpgImage: Stefanie Posavec

The three pairs of sunglasses were inspired by data from separate days in Sheffield during 2014. Each pair of sunglasses have three perspex lenses stacked together. The brown lens represents nitrogen dioxide, the blue is small particulates, and the green is large particulates. Etched into each lens are symbols showing the quantity of each pollution. The larger the etching, the higher the pollution level on that particular day.

Pollution-Necklace-Jewelry-Wearable-Tech-BODY-Side view of the sunglasses.jpgImage: Stefanie Posavec

The glasses make it difficult to see and the necklace is uncomfortable to wear, which is the point.

“We wanted to communicate the burden of pollution on the body,” Posavec says on her website.

Read More:Air Pollution is Killing 6.5 Million People Each Year

The necklaces represent a week in Sheffield. Each segment visualizes the average large particulate pollution count over a six-hour time period. The higher the count, the larger and more vibrant the segment.

Pollution-Necklace-Jewelry-Wearable-Tech-BODY-Necklace diagramed.jpgImage: Stefanie Posavec

The project was commissioned by Better with Data and the Sheffield office of the Open Data Institute. Over the last six months, the educational fashion accessories have been displayed at various public events in the UK about pollution.

For people that live in relatively clean-air areas, this jewelry offers a tangible lesson in the harmful pollution too many live with every day.  


By taking action on Global Citizen, you will have a chance to win tickets to this year's Global Citizen Festival in New York City on Sept. 24, 2016.

Ready to take action?