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Coughing teddy raises respiratory awareness

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An animatronic teddy bear is helping to raise awareness of inner-city pollution levels across the UK.

Toxic Toby, the brainchild toy of advertising agency McCann London, is a fully interactive pollutant monitor that constantly measures the ambient pollution in its surroundings. When levels become too high Toby is programmed to spring into life – coughing and moving in distress.

Designed to look and feel like a normal teddy, McCann have strategically placed Tobys across the UK in major cities, attached to lampposts akin to a memorial.

In London alone, it is estimated that more than 9,000 people die prematurely from issues related to air pollution.

James Crosby, one of the designers behind Toxic Toby, said: “We discovered the alarming statistic that more people die every year from breathing in toxic air than from car accidents,”

Comparatively, there were around 200 deaths caused by car accidents in London last year.


The campaign follows a report from the European Court of Auditors stating that “Air pollution is the biggest environmental risk to health in the European Union.”

Janusz Wojciechowski, author of the report, added: “In recent decades, EU policies have contributed to emission reductions, but air quality has not improved at the same rate and there are still considerable impacts on public health.”

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