All News

Local Knitters Craft for Air Quality Change


A collective of more than 60 east London community knitters are creating a unique exhibition, which raises awareness of air quality in Tower Hamlets. 

Knitters of all abilities from across Poplar and beyond are using their craft to show air pollution data from two local Breathe London air quality sensors.

They started in March 2023 and will be knitting the data for a whole year. The result is an impressive, eye-catching piece, which is helping build knowledge and understanding on an issue that directly affects the health and wellbeing of the whole community.

An exhibition of their work so far will be held at the Making Space Gallery, 48 Aberfeldy Street, from 29 September – 1 October 2023, 9am – 5pm. All are welcome to drop in and view the artwork.

We have been supporting this project in partnership with EcoWorld London and Fitzrovia Noir.

The group are knitting are knitting squares for each day, meaning the final piece will feature 1460 squares to represent 12 months of data. The squares show one of two types of pollutant – Nitrogen Dioxide (N02) which is a harmful gas or Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) which is ultra fine dust.

The data comes from two monitoring sensors located in the Aberfeldy area of Poplar: one is on Dee Street opposite Culloden School and the other is on the A12 / Abbott Road junction.

Poor air quality has an enormous impact on public health. It is associated with negatively affecting lung development in children, heart disease, stroke, cancer, exacerbation of asthma and increased mortality. By presenting the data in a highly visual and tactile way, this project is working to build understanding, knowledge and spark conversation about solutions.

Knitting the Air is part of Poplar Green Futures, a community led strategy and action plan for a healthier, more sustainable Poplar.

This project was part funded by the GLA and Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Breathe London Community Programme has sponsored 60 nodes pan London.

Knitting the Air Instagram
"This project has really caught the imagination of the whole community. We’ve had an extraordinary response from local knitters coming together to help knit the data, including complete beginners. It’s already sparking many constructive conversations about people’s lived experiences of air quality and impact on their life.

“Everyone is welcome to pop into the exhibition and see the work that has been done so far. It’s a great opportunity to find out more about air quality, what can be done to drive change and learn how you can get involved in the project."

Project Lead Caroline Murray, from our Accents team

"This is one of the best projects I’ve been involved in for a while. What a fantastic way to visualise air pollution, I’ve been involved in monitoring air quality in Poplar for many years and I’m excited how this project can help raise awareness."

Local project participant, Fran Jefcoate