Clean Air Day - 17th June 2021

Stroma Group is supporting Clean Air Day on June 17th, the UK’s largest clean air initiative. The campaign, which is organised by sustainability charity Global Action Plan, will focus on a new theme for the year to ‘protect our children’s health from air pollution.’

An important message, given that earlier this year the first person in the UK to have air pollution listed as their cause of death was nine-year-old Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, who lived in Lewisham, south-east London.

Ella died in 2013, the inquest which took place earlier this year confirmed that her cause of death was air pollution. Ella lived near the South Circular Road in Lewisham. It was discovered that air pollution "made a material contribution" to her death, the inquest found.

Clean Air Day’s Fifth Year

The Clean Air Day initiative is now in its fifth year, its goal is to raise awareness of the impact of air pollution and how it has a detrimental affect on the nation’s health. Air pollution is the UK’s number one environmental health issue that affects everyone; however, children are at a higher risk of being affected. Poor air quality can damage children’s health, disrupting their lung development, and reducing life expectancy. It has also been found that air pollution can cause heart and lung disease in children.

Children can be particularly vulnerable to poor air quality on their journey to and from school, and in the school playground, especially in urbanised areas. In fact, the charity UNICEF claims that in 71% of UK towns and cities, children are breathing unsafe levels of air pollution. This data was produced by Queen Mary’s University, London.

The research goes on to claim that children are “disproportionately exposed to higher doses of pollution during the school run and whilst they are at school – particularly at break time when they’re in the school playground.”

This year, on Clean Air Day, Global Action Plan will be collaborating with:

  • Business – to help them recognise the impact they are having on children’s health and act to reduce air pollution by taking action through their own operations
  • Schools – to help schools ensure they are healthy places to learn and play as students come back into the premises
  • Parents – enhance parent’s understanding of air pollution issues and solutions, aiming for majority support for the most crucial air quality measures
  • Local authorities – to work together to ensure that children are protected from dirty air as they learn and play
  • National government - convey the support of children, parents and teachers for government and major polluter action on air pollution.

The Director of Clean Air at Global Action Plan, Larissa Lockwood, says:

“We have seen the power of Clean Air Day to unite a movement, to bring confidence to talk about the importance of tackling air pollution even in trying times, and to push for change. But this year we are theming the campaign to ensure this information reaches those who need it most urgently. It is our belief that children, and particularly those from low-income families, will be impacted by the turmoil the pandemic has caused for years to come.

We all have a role to play in protecting our children’s health from the damaging consequences of air pollution – so they can learn and play safely. While face-to-face events will continue to be restricted this year, we hope people and organisations still make efforts to leave the car at home, hold knowledge sharing online events, share information and inspiration on social media and ensure that the demand for clean air is heard across the media to protect our children.”

Stroma Group and Clean Air Day

Stroma Group will be supporting Clean Air Day across the week, so keep an eye out for our social media posts. Stroma Built Environment works with partners across the UK to deliver Air Quality Assessments to Support Air Quality Mitigation, you can learn more about our work here.