Air pollution: we cannot wait for the government to act
Air pollution is set to become the leading cause of child mortality by 2050 (UNICEF, 2016). The problem has become so bad that the right to breathe clean air looks set to be elevated within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (United Nations, 2021).
It might be easy to think that this an issue that affects other countries, and yet in the UK 3.4 million children go to schools in areas where air pollution levels are above World Health Organization recommended limits, according to research published in June to coincide with the Clean Air Day initiative (Global Action Plan, 2021). The authors found that 27% of UK schools are in high pollution areas.
And air pollution from car fumes and tyre particles contributes to 40 000 premature deaths a year according to the Royal College of Physicians (2016) which has highlighted poor air quality around schools as a real concern for children.
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