Clean Air Day is being marked on 20th June this year.
It’s a great chance to raise awareness about air pollution and its effects on our health, to think about what we can all do to reduce air pollution and to share ideas and information with family and friends.
Why Does Clean Air Matter?
Long-term exposure to air pollution accounts for 30,000 deaths a year in the UK, and much of it comes from traffic. It’s especially bad at busy road junctions. However, pollution levels inside vehicles are as high as if not higher than those outside.
You can’t always see air pollution. It’s made up of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and particulate matter, including traces of toxic metals. Particles in exhaust gases are breathed in and enter the airways and lungs, causing inflammation and asthma attacks. The smallest particles can even cross into the bloodstream, blocking the arteries and increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Links with between pollution and dementia are being researched, as well as with cancer.
Its effects are felt more by children because they are closer to the ground. In addition, because their young lungs are still developing, they are more vulnerable to dirty air. Being exposed to air pollution during pregnancy can affect a baby’s lung development.
What Can You Do?
The UK government has a Clean Air Zone Framework and has awarded over £3 million of funding across local authorities to projects to improve air quality. However, there are things we can all do to improve to help. Why not use Clean Air Day as a catalyst for change?
Here are some suggestions:
- Leave your car at home and walk or cycle to school or work. Encourage friends and family to do the same. You might be surprised how short the journey is!
- If you get stuck at traffic lights or in a queue, turn off your engine, rather than letting it idle. Many cars do this automatically now.
- If you drive, have your car serviced regularly and keep the tyres at the correct pressure. These measures will help your vehicle run more efficiently.
- Run an event to raise awareness of air pollution, the problems it causes and what we can all do to help. Offer incentives to those who take part.
- Use social media to spread the message.
- Set up a car pool for the day. Could this be sustained in the longer term?
- For another longer term project, plant a hedge or ‘green wall’ to absorb pollution from nearby roads.
Clean Air Day Events 2019
A number of Clean Air Day events are being held all over the UK. They are a great way to educate your children and get them interested in cleaning up our air. To see what’s happening in your area, visit the Clean Air Day website – and let us know in the Comments section what you are doing for Clean Air Day 2019.
Tags: #CleanAirDay #airquality #pollution #health