Is European industry cleaning up its act? by Ellen O'Neill

A data visualisation outlining the volume of air pollutants pumped out in Europe through industrial activities (e.g., burning fossil fuels, raising livestock etc.) and their relative scale and dominance across various different industrial sectors.

This work was created as part of an assignment I was set by the University Arts London's during my time attending their 'Information Design and Data Visualisation' short course. The task was simple - manipulate data supplied by the European Environment Agency (EAC) under the 'European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register' to create an infographic which showcases air pollution in an interesting light.

With extreme weather events happening with increased frequency across the globe as a result of climate change, I wanted to use this visualisation to highlight the sheer scale of carbon dioxide emissions released into the atmosphere as a result of man-made industrial behaviours, when compared to the other top 9 air pollutants by volume. This was illustrated across an eleven year period from 2010 to 2020, and was depicted by a cloud of smog being emitted from multiple power plant chimneys to highlight carbon dioxide's relative dominance. Other data stories showcased in this visualisation include the steady decline in the total volume of all pollutants emitted over this time horizon, and the positive impact global events such as the Covid-19 pandemic have had on the stark decline of pollutants released in to our atmosphere. A key has also been supplied to provide an extra layer of information as to the source of each of the pollutants, highlighting the sector responsible for the the reduction of air quality through its release of either greenhouse gases or particulate matter.