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Extinction Rebellion

Massive Attack & Jeremy Deller design masks for Extinction Rebellion die-in

The pollution masks were worn by the climate activist group as they protested illegal levels of air pollution in the UK at London’s Science Museum

Extinction Rebellion has staged a die-in at London’s Science Museum to draw attention to the illegal levels of air pollution in the UK.

Children as young as two took part in the protest, and wore bespoke pollution masks by the likes of Massive Attack, Bella Freud, Gavin Turk, and Jeremy Deller. The masks, which were donated to the climate group, will be auctioned later this year, with proceeds split between both Extinction Rebellion and other groups working to end the harm caused to children by air pollution.

Holding banners with facts demonstrating the links between air pollution and health conditions, the group lay down in silence for 20 minutes. “Breathing illegal toxic air from fossil fuel combustion causes deaths and hospital admissions from heart attacks, strokes, and asthma,” said Dr Terry Matthews, a member of Doctors for Extinction Rebellion, in a press release. “Air pollution also increases the risk of dementia, impaired brain function, depression, miscarriage, and infertility.”

The action was staged in the Science Museum to protest the institution accepting sponsorships from fossil fuel companies – its children’s section Wonderlab, for example, is sponsored by Norwegian energy company Equinor.

Air pollution kills seven million people every year, and new studies show that people living in more polluted areas are at higher risk of developing psychiatric disorders. Last year, six members of Extinction Rebellion glued themselves to a major road in central London to demand action on the “deadly levels of air pollution” in the city.