People across Leicestershire are being urged to pledge to make small changes to help reduce air pollution, ahead of Clean Air Day 2023.
This year’s national initiative takes place on Thursday (June 15), and Leicestershire County Council is again supporting the cause.
Clean Air Day is the UK’s largest campaign on air pollution and this year’s theme is ‘Clean Up Our Air to Look After Your Mind’.
Air pollution can affect everyone, although is particularly harmful to the most vulnerable people, including pregnant women, children, older people and those with underlying health conditions.
Cleaning up the air not only benefits physical health and the environment but can also protect mental and brain health. The physical health impacts of air pollution – such as asthma, heart disease and cancers – have been recognised for decades. More recently, researchers are beginning to understand how air pollution can affect the brain and the mind.
This Clean Air Day, Leicestershire County Council is encouraging people to think about their environmental impact and the simple steps they can take to help reduce air pollution.
A series of pledge cards has been created to mark Clean Air Day – and people across Leicestershire are being encouraged to make their own pledge to do their bit to help reduce air pollution and harmful emissions.
The pledges people are making are:
- I pledge to learn more about air pollution on Clean Air Day
- I pledge to walk, wheel or use public transport to school / work on Clean Air Day
- I pledge to support clean air measures on Clean Air Day
- I pledge to leave the car at home on Clean Air Day
- I pledge to work from home on Clean Air Day
- I pledge to join a car club on Clean Air Day
- I pledge to consider hiring an electric car or electric taxi on Clean Air Day
- I pledge to switch off my engine on Clean Air Day
- I pledge to avoid using wood burning stoves and open fires on Clean Air Day
There is a very quick and easy personal air pollution footprint calculator at https://calculator.cleanairhub.org.uk/quiz, which allows people to check how much air pollution they are creating, as well as information on how to reduce it.
Councillor Louise Richardson, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, has pledged to go electric. She is now encouraging others to make their own pledges and do their bit to improve air quality in their daily lives.
She said: “Air pollution has serious negative effects on people’s health. Our continuing support of Clean Air Day and continued commitment to the environment show that Leicestershire County Council is taking these health impacts seriously.
“Small changes make a real difference – please join me in making our pledge and doing your bit to improve the environment for everyone.
“We’ve also recently passed the 250,000 milestone in our pledge to plant 700,000k trees across the county. Trees do a wonderful job of cleaning the air, reducing pollution and help clean the air we breathe.”
The pioneering School Streets scheme, which aims to improve safety for everyone by reducing traffic congestion and improving local air quality is being trialled again at two Leicestershire schools.
The initiative sees a pedestrian and cycle zone put into action between 8.15am and 8.50am and 2.30pm and 3.30pm on roads around Belvoirdale Community Primary School in Coalville and Anstey’s Latimer Primary School.
Both schools were involved in an original trial in the autumn last year and have signed up again after welcoming the initiative, which created a safe space for children to walk, cycle, scoot or ‘park and walk’ to school with temporary road closures for vehicles outside school gates.
Pupils and parents from Greystoke Primary School in Narborough will be doing their bit to support Clean Air Day by literally taking steps to improve air quality. A group of them will meet up close to the district council offices before walking to the school together, in a bid to cut the number of cars driving up to the school premises.
More information about air pollution and how to take steps to reduce it can be found on the Clean Air Hub at www.cleanairhub.org.uk/home