Otrivin helps India’s School Children Breathe Cleaner by Transforming Toxic Air into Pencils

Pioneering project initiated by Haleon brand and Wunderman Thompson Singapore installs air purifiers in schools to collect toxic air particles and turn them into ‘Otrivin Pollution Capture Pencils’

Leading nasal health brand Otrivin, owned by global consumer health company Haleon, has launched a pioneering clean air initiative called ‘Otrivin Pollution Capture Pencils.’

The innovative project collects pollution by-products and uses them to make (certified, non-toxic) pencils for underprivileged children in Bengaluru, India.

The initiative is driven by the fact that 98% of children in India breathe toxic air, according to research by the World Health Organisation (WHO), not only outdoors but also in their classrooms – where children spend up to 8 hours a day.

Developed in collaboration with Wunderman Thompson Singapore as part of WPP Team GSK/Haleon for the Otrivin Actions to Breathe Cleaner programme, the project has focused on Bengaluru – where inhabitants breathe air that is considerably more polluted than WHO guidelines – and started in three low-income schools in the industrial areas of Peenya, Hegganahalli and Mallasandra, areas with the poorest air quality.

Air pollution also impacts neurodevelopment and cognitive ability and can trigger asthma and childhood cancer. Polluted air is poisoning millions of children and ruining their lives, says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.*

For this initial phase of the project, twenty-two air purifiers, with the ability to wipe out up to 74% airborne pollutants, were installed both inside and outside the school buildings to improve air quality for over 1,500 young students.

Revolutionary Technology

Over two months, the specially designed purifiers – which use revolutionary soot cleaning technology developed by Indian innovation company Panjurli Labs headed up by CEO Ashik S.V. – cleaned over 2 billion cubic feet of toxic air.

The resulting pollution residue was gathered and mixed with graphite to create the core of 10,000 custom-designed pencils.

Certified non-toxic, Otrivin’s Pollution Capture Pencils were distributed to students and will also act as fundraising tools for the installation of more air purifiers in local schools – thereby creating a self-sustaining ecosystem for change.

Farhad Nadeem, Global Marketing & Digital Director, Otrivin, said: “We at Haleon and our creative partners are led by our purpose – to help people breathe cleaner.

The Otrivin Actions To Breathe Cleaner initiative is built on the premise that no action is too small when it comes to reducing our exposure to air pollution.

The Otrivin ‘Pollution Capture Pencils’ pilot in India is one such action that attempts to convert air pollution into positivity. We hope that this initiative, while not solving India’s pollution challenge, inspires people to take simple actions to make the world a better place to live in and breathe.”

The collaboration is supported by a launch campaign developed by Wunderman Thompson Singapore, working in conjunction with a wider team at WPP, including Wunderman Thompson India and Grey London.

The film was produced by Tandem Media Labs with director Shamik Sen Gupta.

Watch the launch film here.

Wunderman Thompson Singapore’s Creative Director, Aarti Nichlani, who has been involved with the project from the start, says: “Air pollution is not going away in a hurry.

Meanwhile, it’s the poorest children who bear the greatest burden. An innovation like Pollution Capture Pencils helps make a change at a time when children need it most… today.”

Wunderman Thompson Singapore’s Chief Creative Officer, Mateusz Mroszczak, says of the project:  “The biggest reward for any creative agency is to deliver an idea that works both for the client and the greater good.

An opportunity like this doesn’t come often. We’re really proud to have partnered with Otrivin to take a small but meaningful step to help bring cleaner air to India’s children.”

The Importance of Design

Matching the innovative technology of the air purifiers, the design and packaging of the Otrivin Pollution Capture Pencils are equally imaginative, featuring vibrant artwork created by Indian multidisciplinary artist Gautam Dutta.

Dutta has drawn on his background in graphic design, infographics, and illustration to produce three distinct designs which represent the three schools involved in the project.

Each design has many small joyful details specific to each school to fully capture the children’s imagination.

Gautam Dutta says: “Before I started designing, I went to visit the schools to research and draw inspiration. I was deeply moved by the adversity that these children go through whilst trying to study and shape their future.

Despite this, the children have some of the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen! With my illustrations, I not only tried to capture the essence of positivity and resilience of the children – but also hope for a brighter future where they can breathe in cleaner air.”

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