What is Clean Air Day?
Clean Air Day 2021 is taking place on the 17th June and is led by Global Action Plan who are leading the largest air pollution campaign in the UK. The first Clean Air Day took place in 2017 and since then it has become an award-winning annual event marked by thousands of people who take part in events that educate others about the importance of air quality.
Why Do We Need a Clean Air Day?
Clean Air Day brings together communities, residents, schools, and businesses with the key aim to help spread awareness about air pollution and the importance of clean air. Air pollution adversely impacts the health of millions of people in the UK, and according to the United Nations, air pollution is the ‘single greatest environmental risk to human health’. This position is accepted by the World Health Organization.
Pollution in the air leads to tiny particles of invisible pollution that can penetrate our lungs, bloodstream, and bodies. Air pollution contributes to many respiratory illnesses, lung cancer, and deaths from heart problems. Sadly, air pollution disproportionately affects the most vulnerable in our communities the worst; people from deprived backgrounds, women, children, and the elderly are the groups who are most adversely impacted health-wise by polluted air. As a society, poor air quality also affects the economy, healthcare costs, tourism, and productivity. Therefore, clean air is an issue that global leaders and national governments need to address.
While many environmental conversations focus on climate change and damage visible to the naked eye, such as plastic bag use and damage to our oceans and environments, it is time to take action on air pollution, which is an invisible but deadly killer.
Improving our air quality and making a firm commitment to taking action at every level (individual, corporate, collective, and governmental) will help mitigate the impact of climate change and improve the air we breathe in.
According to the Department for The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, although air pollution has reduced since 2010 there is still more that needs to be done at the government level to tackle air pollution. Polluted air is leading to a global health emergency despite the right to having a healthy environment being a legal protection in over 100 countries. The right to having clean air is part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights so it imperative that we all make a commitment to doing whatever we can to improve air quality.
What Can We Do On Clean Air Day?
The activities on the day are coordinated by Global Action Plan, and the key message is that is a day of taking action on air quality. People and organisations nationwide are encouraged to do something, big or small, that positively impacts air quality. This could involve taking fewer car journeys, having a street party, walking to school, and sharing the message online.
Emissions from vehicles are one of the main causes of air pollution, so reducing your footprint by using your car less is a great way to take action on Clean Air Day. For further information and resources about how you can mark the day visit https://www.cleanairday.org.uk/.