William Eichler 15 September 2020

Parents call on councils to improve school air quality

Parents and charities have called on local authorities to improve air quality at schools as research suggests a 50% reduction in pollution could halve the number of children with poor lung function.

New analysis by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) shows that if outdoor air pollution is halved, there could be up to a 20-50% reduction in the number of children with poor lung function across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Carried out on behalf of Global Action Plan (GAP) and the Philips Foundation, the analysis also found that the reduction in air pollution seen during the country-wide lockdown lead to asthma attacks in children all but disappearing.

A coalition of groups, which includes GAP and Mums for Lungs, is calling for nationwide action by the Government and local authorities to improve air quality at schools, driven by a legally binding target to meet World Health Organization limits.

Chris Large, co-CEO at Global Action Plan, commented: ‘Local authorities must take advantage of free tools such as the Clean Air for Schools Framework, as the analysis by Queen Mary University of London shows, air pollution impacts the daily lives of so many children.

‘But they must act now. The results of our most recent “Build Back Cleaner Air” report found that clean air practices can help to reduce the spread and exacerbation of Covid-19. Therefore, protecting today’s generation of school children against the toxins carried by air pollution is not only imperative to preventing damage to children’s daily health but also to reducing the impact of this pandemic and future pandemics.’

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