Champion clean air for our children

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As we look ahead to a greener future, one of greater wellbeing, tackling air pollution is top of the agenda because it is the largest environmental health risk we face today.

And not least for our children and generations to come.

Air pollution has a major impact on people’s health. The range of health issues that exposure to air pollution can cause in children include low birth weight, effects on lung function development and worsening of asthma while it can also play a part in causing asthma for some individuals. Air pollution can also damage a child’s ability to learn. For example, in areas of high air pollution, the development of working memory can be stunted.

So, let’s help protect our children's health from air pollution with one way being to support this year’s Clean Air Day on 17 June 2021.

People from across Scotland and the UK will come together for the nation’s largest air pollution campaign and this year, Clean Air Day is focused on showing how much we care about building a clean air future for our children. It is an opportunity to speak out and take action to help protect children from the damage caused by air pollution.

Scotland’s air quality is generally good, but several pollution hotspots remain – predominantly caused by road transport.According to Global Action Plan, which leads Clean Air Day, young children can be exposed to 15% more pollution compared with adults when walking on busy roads due to them being closer to exhaust fumes because of their height.

Scotland is fully committed to improving air quality and as part of this, we are progressing our Low Emission Zone (LEZ) plans across Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and in Glasgow which became the country’s first city to introduce an LEZ. Phase 1 of Glasgow’s LEZ, which applies to local service buses, started in 2018 and during last year’s Clean Air Day, SEPA published a report which providedstrong evidence that air quality in Glasgow has already improved since its LEZ was implemented.

The final LEZ schemes for all four cities are set to come before their respective local authority committees in June for approval with statutory public consultations due to be held in the summer.

LEZs, which set emission standards on certain road spaces and restrict access for the most polluting vehicles, are key to improving air quality, protecting public health, and supporting Scotland’s wider climate change ambitions by encouraging people to think about active travel and using more sustainable transport options.

COVID-19 saw children bear the burden of the pandemic which impacted their freedom, education and, for many, their mental wellbeing. As we return to our lives, we must create a healthy environment where they can learn and play safely. Clean Air Day offers a major opportunity to help achieve this and to protect their health from air pollution.

View how you can support and access free resources for Clean Air Day