Schoolchildren passing on air quality lessons

Date Released - 11/05/2018

SCHOOLCHILDREN are spreading the message of how to improve air quality in Tameside after learning about the dangers of pollution.

Tameside Council Regulatory Services Manager Gary Mongan visited Denton’s Russell Scott Primary School to give an assembly on the subject.

And pupils took on board the issue, vowing to pass on the lesson of how air quality is important for everyone’s health.

Tameside Council is campaigning to tackle air pollution, which is estimated to contribute to the premature deaths of up to 2,000 people in Greater Manchester each year.

It’s also part of the council’s Our Streets campaign, which is bringing the local authority and public together to create a greener, cleaner, safer borough.

Mr Mongan highlighted increases in air pollution and respiratory illness and ways in which we can improve the quality of the air we breathe – such as not leaving the engine running when parked up.

Vehicle exhausts can produce harmful gases – and tiny particles of soot and other matter – that pollute the air and are linked to increases in asthma, allergies, heart and lung disease and cancer.

The air quality campaign also calls on people to walk or cycle where possible, use public transport, car share and to consider upgrading to a hybrid or electric vehicle when looking for a new car.

The assembly was part of an on-going initiative instigated by the school, with support from Tameside Council and Greater Manchester Police, to alleviate problems with inconsiderate parking. Children have even donned hi-viz vests to become “Junior PCSOs” and warn motorists about the dangers.

Among the issues are drivers parking with engines running. A recent study revealed that switching off the engine when at a standstill could help reduce air pollution during peak travel hours by as much as 30 percent.

Headteacher Steve Marsland said: “I’d like to thank Gary for visiting the school to educate us on the health impacts of air pollution. The children are keen to spread the message on what we can all do to improve air quality.”

Tameside Council’s Public Health Annual Report, which can be read at and includes a short animated video, describes how air quality is a re-emerging 21st century public health threat. It aims to raise awareness of the risks and identify what people can do to limit their contribution and exposure.

Ian Saxon, Director of Operations and Neighbourhoods at Tameside Council, said: “Air pollution is a real health danger that affects us all – but we can all take simple actions to help reduce it.

“Leaving your engine running is something we’ve all done but by not leaving it ticking over we’ll reduce harmful traffic fumes and improve air quality, particularly around school gates to protect children’s health.”

Tameside Council has already teamed up with pupils from Stalybridge’s Gorse Hall Primary and Nursery School to help raise awareness of the health dangers of keeping the engine running when parked up.

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