We all want to breathe clean air, but many of us suffer the effects of polluted air instead. Thankfully in the UK the heavy smogs that used to blight our towns and cities are a thing of the past, but air pollution is still with us and is killing up to 36,000 people a year in the UK alone. The UK government and the World Health Organisation acknowledge that air pollution is the biggest environmental risk affecting us today. Poor air quality increases the risk of heart and lung diseases, it can affect the development of children and may also be linked to some mental health issues.
So where does it come from – Air pollution is caused when gases and small particles are released into the air. Some air pollutants are from natural sources such as volcanoes, spontaneous forest fires or methane from animal digestive systems. For us in the UK much of the air pollution is man-made – industries and factories that burn fossil fuels for their industrial processes, air and road transport, large scale agriculture, how we cook our food and heat our homes are all sources of air pollution.
So what can I do – I am only one person – I won’t make a difference. We can all make a difference by making different choices. We can change the way we travel by choosing to walk or cycle for short journeys or take a bus or the train. If you have to use a car – choose an electric one – more and more of our electricity comes from sustainable sources rather than fossil fuels. Change your energy provider to one that supports sustainable energy production from the sun and wind. Shop local and buy products that have not had to travel a long way to reach the shelves and reduce the amount of animal products in your diet to ensure that fewer farm animals need to be raised. The Trinity Active Travel Hub supports Clean Air Day to make a difference.
Thursday 17th June is Clean Air Day and throughout the month of June we will be running a competition where you can pledge to make small changes to your life that will help improve the air around us all. Pledges to make -prizes to be won. Watch out for more information here and on our Facebook page The Trinity Active Travel Hub