East Suffolk school children, and their families, are being encouraged to take simple steps to protect their health from air pollution.
In the lead up to Clean Air Day on 20 June, East Suffolk Council’s Air Quality Officers have been working with schools and communities to help raise awareness of the causes of air pollution and how improved air quality can benefit health.
Key Stage 2 pupils from Bawdsey, Woodbridge, Melton, Birchwood, Benhall St Mary's, Sandlings, Ipswich St Mary's, St Margaret's, Phoenix St Peter Academy and Woods Loke Primary Schools visited the Council offices in Melton and Lowestoft for an air quality lesson. The children spent time outside looking at trees and lichen for signs of air pollution and also designed their own Clean Air Day superhero. The children, known as Air Quality Ambassadors, will then take the resources back to their respective schools to deliver the lesson to their peers on Clean Air Day.
Accompanied by councillors, Air Quality Officers have also visited a number of East Suffolk schools to speak with parents and drivers about the importance of switching off car engines when parked. Officers visited Roman Hill Primary in Lowestoft, Pakefield Primary, Woodbridge Primary, Melton Primary, Heath Primary in Kesgrave and Colneis Junior School in Felixstowe.
Cllr James Mallinder, East Suffolk’s Cabinet Member for the Environment said:
“Air pollution has serious health impacts with dirty air contributing to 40,000 deaths every year in the UK.
Small changes can make a big difference and we want to raise awareness of the simple things people can do in their everyday lives to improve air quality.
Clean Air Day is a chance to find out more about air pollution, share information with friends and family and help make the air cleaner and healthier for everyone.”
Cllr James Reeder, Suffolk County Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Prevention, said:
“Air pollution is an environmental risk to health. But there are lots of simple things we can do to improve air quality and look after our health. Switching off engines when parked is one simple way we can all help to clean up the air we breathe.
I’m so pleased with the fantastic response we have had from schools and pupils across Suffolk, signing up to be clean-air ambassadors and pledging to give the car a day off for clean-air day.
By reducing air-pollution we are helping people live longer, healthier lives. For more examples of how you can help to reduce air-pollution, visit http://www.suffolk.gov.uk/air-quality”
Clean Air Day is the UK's largest air pollution campaign and aims to tackle and raise awareness of air pollution. Schools, hospitals and communities across the UK will be holding events to inspire local residents to act for their own health and the health of local children.
Air pollution can cause a range of illnesses, from skin rashes to itchy eyes through to asthma and more serious cardio-respiratory illnesses and cancer. Due to their developing lungs and faster breathing rates, children are more at risk from air pollution.
As well as outdoor air pollution, residents are also being asked to consider the air quality in their homes. There are many ways to improve indoor air quality; including opening windows when cooking or using cleaning products, regularly servicing your boiler to ensure there are no carbon monoxide leaks and avoiding artificial scents in the products used at home.