“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,” said Chris Large, Co-CEO at Global Action Plan. “But they must act now. 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 reduce the impact of this and future pandemics.”
“As school children continue to settle into classrooms this autumn, we have a once in a generation opportunity to tackle poor air quality head-on,” said Mark Leftwich, Director Personal Health, Philips UK and Ireland. “It is vital we take immediate action to protect public health from significant future health crises, which ongoing research shows can be worsened by air pollution in a patient with underlying respiratory issues. Setting long-term targets for emissions is welcome, but we cannot wait another 20 or 30 years for proposed targets to take effect. Doing so would compromise the health of the most vulnerable communities for decades to come – which crucially includes our children.”
To demonstrate the impact air pollution has on children’s lungs, the campaign is showcasing new infra-red images of children’s sputum, which show the pollutants found in the lungs. “Airborne” by artist Sarah Stirk is a multimedia project focusing on air pollution’s impact on the health of children in London. It utilizes microscopic images of black carbon i.e., particulate matter, in children’s spit, data maps showing pollution levels and new infrared images of children. Campaigners will use the new assets as a means of making the invisible visible to put added pressure on local authorities across the UK and Ireland to take urgent action.