SCHOOLCHILDREN had fun in the fresh air while promoting pollution warnings as Tameside celebrated Clean Air Day.
Denton’s Russell Scott Primary School held a Clean Air Fete featuring a mix of outdoor activities, such as a bouncy castle and Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, and healthy living advice from charities including the British Heart Foundation and Living Streets. The event also featured street art work using single use plastics, planting flower baskets around school and local streets, scooting and bike lessons and a bake sale.
Russ Meehan, the Manchester graffiti artist famous for the Manchester Bee’s adorning buildings across the city, demonstrated his skills and sprayed a fabulous design of Denton’s industrial heritage with the dirt and grime being taken over by the greenery and flowers of the modern day.
The event also promoted Tameside Council’s Our Streets campaign, which is bringing the local authority and public together to create a cleaner, greener, safer borough.
Tameside Council Executive Leader Councillor Brenda Warrington and colleagues attended to support the message that air quality is one of the most important challenges facing us.
Tameside Council’s Public Health Annual Report, which can be read at www.tameside.gov.uk/publichealthreports 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.
Yesterday (21 June) was Greater Manchester’s second Clean Air Day – part of a national day of action to raise awareness and drive change.
Residents were asked by Transport for Greater Manchester to make pledges on what they can do to help make our air cleaner – from leaving the car at home and using public transport/cycling/walking more to car sharing. Tameside Council staff took to social media to share their pledges and help inspire others.
Air pollution can play a part in poor health, including breathing illnesses, heart disease, stroke and even some cancers. It’s estimated to contribute to the premature deaths of up to 2,000 people in Greater Manchester each year.
Cllr Warrington said: “It was wonderful to see the children enjoying themselves outdoors and also promoting Clean Air Day’s important message: that we need to reduce air pollution and improve air quality so ourselves and future generations can enjoy healthier and happier lives.
“Air pollution is a real health danger that affects us all – but we can all take simple actions to improve the air we all breathe, from walking, cycling and using public transport more to turning the engine off when parked.”
Russell Scott has already held assemblies on air quality and campaigned on what can be done to reduce air pollution – such as not leaving the engine running when parked up.
Headteacher Steve Marsland said: “We were delighted to involve our community in Clean Air Day and our fete was a great success in getting our pupils out in the fresh air and spreading important messages on what can be done to improve air quality, particularly around school. We are building a ‘Green Zone’ around our school as children’s lungs are affected 30 per cent more than adults by car emissions and pollutants – we have to improve air quality around schools and children for their health and wellbeing.”
Councillor Alex Ganotis, Greater Manchester Combined Authority lead for environment, green spaces and air quality, said: “Our young people are one of the groups most affected by poor air quality. In many parts of Greater Manchester, children walking or being driven to school are breathing in air that’s harming their health.
“We all need to take personal action to help clean up our air and, for many people, that means thinking about doing the school run differently.
“It’s great to see schools across Greater Manchester joining in activities on Clean Air Day. I’m sure events like this are really helping to raise awareness and encouraging children and their families to walk, cycle and take public transport where possible.”
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