27% of schools are exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution

More than a quarter of British schools, nurseries and colleges are in areas with ‘dangerously high’ levels of air pollution, according to research commissioned by Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation.

Researchers from Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants compared the location of schools, nurseries and colleges with annual particulate matter (PM2.5) levels in those areas in 2019 – before lockdown had an impact on local air pollution.

The analysis found that 8,549 educational institutions in England, Wales and Scotland – 27% of the total – are in areas where PM2.5 exceeds the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines

Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation said they want to see the government commit to safer new legal limits for PM2.5 in line with WHO guidelines. 

Harriet Edwards, senior policy and project manager for air quality at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, said: ‘It’s alarming that thousands of children are going into schools where dangerously high air pollution levels could be putting their health and futures at risk.

‘There are no safe levels for air pollution, we need to get levels as low as possible and it’s vital the Government commits to ambitious new targets in line with the best available science from the WHO.

‘Covid-19 has reinforced more than ever the importance of healthy lungs and it’s our responsibility to ensure the next generation has clean air to breathe.’

Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation, said: ‘With 1.1 million children (1 in 11) in the UK receiving treatment for asthma, it is high time we began prioritising the lung health of our young people.2

‘There is strong evidence that air pollution can stunt the growth of children’s lungs and emerging evidence that it is linked to the development of asthma in children.

‘Exposure to air pollution is dangerous for everyone but for people with lung conditions, it can cause a flare-up of their symptoms.3 Over half of people with asthma tell us poor air quality makes their condition worse, which puts them at higher risk of an asthma attack.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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Joan
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Joan

Kahan made life miserable for all road user and he pushed hard to us PHV driver. We are being made unable to transport people and goods as roads are made no entry just to make money of the cameras. We support the environment and we want to work to survive. Please stop from making us to be added to the number of unemployed.

V Clyde
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V Clyde

For years I’ve been protesting about second-hand nicotine and cannabis smoke from which I am mostly down-wind when walking to shops etc., in my neighbourhood. It is a disgrace with people blowing the stuff in one’s face. I happen to have’ vulnerable kings but t us the children and babies un prams that are subjected to this unnecessary destruction of their lungs. Why? Why is this allowed?. It is intense where I live, as is the traffics spewing deist particles and petrol fumes, especially from the very very expensive cars locally which idle most of the time spewing more stuff… Read more »

PmB
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PmB

And who is going to protect me from the kids spreading COVID-19?

K.purcell
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K.purcell

What will it take to Ban The Burn? Bonfires and all other kinds of burning produce about half the air pollution. Cement, construction and cleaning products and other domestic pollutants, and car tyres and exhausts produce the other half. But setting fires is Such Fun, as proved by Australia, California, U.K. moorland and other out of control fires.

Salman
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Then subsidize electric cars!

K.purcell
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K.purcell

Maybe part of the answer, but the production mining then disposal of batteries is unsustainable. not as good as solar, hydrogen, renewables (especially with an insistence all wind blades are stopped, till one single blade is painted black, which prevents most bird killing), plus, unfortunately, probably nuclear.

John
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John

Unfortunately, in London, current road closure policies and the congestion charge are pushing more and more traffic onto routes with already illegal pollution levels.. Marylebone Road, Euston Road, City Road, Old Street to name just a few. There are schools bordering these routes that are in a serious situation. Road restrictions insanely make it more easy to enter Central London than to leave it. Decisions being made by councils and TFL are extremely short sighted.

PmB
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PmB

This is so true. I work in Old Street, and the air is unbearable. Tube is packed all day. There simply are no real alternatives. It’s easy to say “oh let’s go green” but then there is no way to make it happen.

Karen Wentworth
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Karen Wentworth

I think what comes to mind immediately is how can I help persuade people not to use their cars in a city that offers one of the best public transportation systems in the world.. We need to encourage our children to use their legs and bodies to transport them places. If we don’t use them we are going to lose them. Besides which its cheaper for all os us. Karen Wentworth. 6 Ravenslea Rd London SW12 8SB.

K.purcell
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K.purcell

People cannot be 100% certain there will be effective enforcement of wearing masks, everywhere in public, , correctly worn over the nose, not under the chin, not removed to talk and eat and drink, and with no excuses or exceptions. People complained about not smoking, complained about wearing seat belts, complained about not being allowed to speed and to drink-drive. Now, they complain about being asked not to threaten lives by covid spreading. If they find any inconvenience at all, of course they need not wear masks, because they have the easy option of staying imprisoned in their own homes,… Read more »