17 June 2021

Millions of children attend schools with toxic air, campaigners warn

Millions of children attend schools with toxic air, campaigners warn image

Millions of children go to schools where air pollution is above World Health Organization (WHO) limits, new data reveals.

The data, collected by EarthSense and published by Global Action Plan, shows 27% of all UK schools are located in areas with high levels of the pollutant PM2.5. This equates to an estimate of over 3.4 million children in the UK.

The charity warned toxic air can harm children’s health, causing or triggering asthma, damaging lung development, and affecting their ability to learn.

Dr Maria Neira, director at WHO said: ‘These figures are unequivocally too high and harming children’s health. Schools should be safe places of learning, not places where students are at risk of health hazards.

’There is no safe level of air pollution, and if we care about our children and their future, air pollution limits should reflect WHO guidelines.’

Global Action Plan is calling on local authorities to communicate the health risks of air pollution and how to tackle it to schools, residents, businesses and health groups.

Larissa Lockwood, director of clean air at Global Action Plan, said: 'The fact that 27% of UK schools are above WHO air pollution limits is extremely alarming. Air pollution is not a fact of life. If we all do our bit, it can be solved with collaborative action and education.'

The data has been published to mark Clean Air Day.

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