Aerial photo of pine trees

Our vision is to realise a sustainable zero pollution future

With the Transition to Zero Pollution initiative we want to go beyond thinking about zero carbon and consider pollution in all its forms.

The scale of the challenge is massive. Pollution caused by people can be found almost everywhere we look. Toxic metals from human activity have been detected in the Himalayan peaks and plastic fibres found deep in the Pacific Ocean. Air pollution is a major health hazard for urban and rural communities and CO2 levels are rising above the levels needed to meet the Paris targets of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

To address these challenges we need a radical shift in industrial systems, technologies, and business models, underpinned by the development of innovative policies and governance structures. Scientists, engineers, clinicians, and economists must work together to create innovative technologies and policies that address not just a single problem but the entire system and life cycle.

Our aims

Transition to Zero Pollution is one of the first initiatives of Imperial’s Academic Strategy. The initiative will foster systems-thinking, discovery science, transformational cross-disciplinary research, technology and innovation to create and translate holistic socio-technical solutions to pollution in all its forms, including carbon dioxide. We will build on work being done to tackle greenhouse gas emissions and deliver net-zero carbon, and go beyond that to build a sustainable zero pollution future

We will bring together researchers across Imperial and build new partnerships that converge disciplines, from fundamental science and engineering, systems thinking, human health, new business models, and policymaking. We want to instil a holistic, zero pollution mind-set among our researchers and inspire current and future students. We will work with key stakeholders to make sure that our research is translated into effective policy and solutions for industry.

Research we are pursuing to work towards a zero pollution society includes:

  • Zero waste and sustainable resource extraction​
  • Sustainable, integrated food/water/energy systems
  • Blue-Green cities
  • Zero pollution transport, including electrification of transport and electric aircraft.