Larissa Lockwood, head of health at behaviour change charity Global Action Plan, the Clean Air Day co-ordinator, looks ahead to the campaign with just three months left to go.
This week sees the first day of Spring, and this means that Clean Air Day 2018 is just three months away. June 21 is an opportunity for us to come together and demonstrate how collective action to cut emissions can have an immediate impact on the quality of the air we breathe, and therefore our health. The BBC’s Fighting for Air documentary showcased a school where they organised a walking bus and encouraged pupils, parents and carers to walk or cycle to school instead of driving. As a result the air quality outside the school improved by 30%. Imagine the difference if we did this across the country outside every school, hospital and workplace.
On Clean Air Day 2018 we have the power to make a real difference to our air by using the day to trigger a change to our daily activities. The 2018 campaign is encouraging the public to try a pollution-busting action on Thursday June 21, such as cycling to work, walking the kids to school, test driving an electric vehicle or using Click and Collect for deliveries.
With three months to go, there is plenty of time to organise your activities. Paris has organised three car-free days – who will be the first city in the UK to do this? The London Borough of Hackney is trialling School Streets – turning the streets outside schools into safe pedestrian and cyclist zones at school drop-off and pick-up times, with other councils quickly following in their footsteps. On Clean Air Day 2017 in Southampton, St John’s Primary and Nursery closed the road outside the school for the day and instead used the street to play and teach pupils essential bike skills. Let’s not just imagine places with cleaner air, let’s create them on Clean Air Day.
To help inspire people to take action, and reach as many people as possible with air pollution messages, we are calling on all local authorities, health organisations, charities and businesses to take part in Clean Air Day 2018. Refreshed toolkits, leaflets and social media support will be available at www.cleanairday.org.uk from April to help make taking part as easy as possible. To receive regular emails on how you can get involved, sign up for updates here.
As the days get longer and the nights get shorter, make sure you are putting your plans in place to start the Summer with a blast of fresh air on June 21st. Follow us on Twitter @cleanairdayUK