Southend-on-Sea City Council is encouraging residents to make small changes to their daily routine to promote better air quality as part of this year’s annual Clean Air Day.
Clean Air Day on 15 June will see events being held across the UK to inspire people to take simple steps to protect their health, and their families’ health, from air pollution.
As part of the Council’s commitment to improving air quality across Southend, the Council is now working with 10 local schools on an innovative two-year Clean Air Schools Project thanks to a £256,285 grant from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
The government’s air quality grant will be used to purchase air quality monitoring equipment that will help develop knowledge about local pollution and consider interventions that will improve air quality and reduce pupil exposure to pollution.
Cllr Meg Davidson, deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, said: “I am delighted the Council was successful in securing funding for the Clean Air Schools Project as it means we can determine where there are harmful levels of air pollution and devise specific interventions. We will also be engaging with students to provide an understanding of air pollution and what they can do about it. This will also form part of a wider anti car idling campaign.
Cllr James Moyies, cabinet member for public health, adult social care & constitutional affairs, added: “Cleaning up our air is good for us in many ways: it not only benefits our physical health and the environment but can also protect our mental and brain health. The physical health impacts of air pollution – such as asthma, heart disease and cancers – have been recognised for decades. More recently, researchers are beginning to understand how air pollution can affect the brain and the mind.”