Cheshire East Council is urging people to ‘show the air you care’ – and do their bit to mark Clean Air Day and help protect the future health of our children.
Clean Air Day, on June 17, will see schools, workplaces and communities across the borough and UK raise awareness of air pollution and inspire people to take simple steps to tackle air pollution – helping protect the environment and health.
Cheshire East Council is committed to improving our air quality and has taken actions to achieve this.
These steps include creating active travel schemes to encourage cycling, walking and scooting in communities and locations across the borough, promoting electric and greener vehicles, producing and implementing an Air Quality Action Plan, visiting schools to deliver talks on air quality and creating a dedicated awareness page on our website.
These actions have a real impact on reducing air pollution – but the actions of individuals and communities can have just as much impact on improving air quality.
Everyone has a role to play in helping boost air quality in Cheshire East – and the council wants to inspire its staff, partners and local residents to take simple actions to help reduce air pollution and limit its impact on people’s health.
Councillor Mick Warren, chair of Cheshire East Council’s environment and communities’ committee, said: “Every year, air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK. Reducing air pollution and improving the air we breathe is a priority for this council as it affects our health from our first breath as a child to our last. Damage done in childhood can carry through to affect us in old age.
“The past year has seen children bear the burden of Covid-19, impacting their freedom, education and mental wellbeing. As we return to more normal lives, we must create a healthier environment where they can learn and play safely.
“We have a once in a lifetime chance for change – so let’s use it.
“As the single largest environmental health risk we face today, air pollution causes illness such as lung and heart diseases, is linked to low birth weight, can affect children’s lung development and may even harm mental health. Both the World Health Organisation and UK government recognise that action needs to be taken to improve air quality.
“We know people’s travel behaviour has changed due to the impact of Covid-19. Our monitoring results have shown a decrease in nitrogen dioxide levels during lockdown and we are determined to secure the benefits of more people walking and cycling, to make our air cleaner and our communities healthier and more welcoming to shoppers and visitors.
“But tackling air pollution is not simply the responsibility of the council – it is overwhelmingly down to the choices and actions of us all, as individuals and communities. People can reduce the pollution their family is exposed to and help improve the air quality for both themselves and the wider community by making small changes to how they travel, what they buy and how they manage their home.”
Clean Air Day is a day of practical action and awareness raising, so we can all breathe cleaner and healthier air. Actions people should take to reduce air pollution include:
● Give your car a day off – Walk, cycle or take public transport to work or school, or work from home if you can;
● Don’t idle – If you drive, turn off your engine when your vehicle is stationary and it is safe to do so;
● Discover the side streets – Use quieter streets when you’re on a bike or on foot to avoid polluted main roads;
● Go electric – There are lots of ways you can travel electric. Hire an electric car, taxi or test drive an electric vehicle today;
● Only burn dry, well-seasoned wood or smokeless fuel on your stove, open fire or barbecue.
Cllr Warren added: “I urge people not only to support Clean Air Day on Thursday 17 June, but also to continue with simple pollution-reducing actions to help improve the health and wellbeing of everyone as we go forward.”
Clean Air Day is coordinated by environmental change charity Global Action Plan and is supported by more than 200 councils, health institutions and universities, including the Royal College of Physicians, the British Lung Foundation and numerous NHS trusts.
Clean Air Day gives every school, workplace, hospital and residential community free access to cutting-edge advice on avoiding and tackling urban pollution, approved by health experts and academics.
For more information on how to get involved in Clean Air Day, visit: www.cleanairday.org.uk