We are Mumsnet campaign of
This week we are very proud to be Mumsnet Campaign of the Week.
Children are particularly vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution, for a range of reasons – partly because their systems are still developing, and that they breathe a higher volume of area per unit of body weight. But also unfortunately our children – in a pushchair or standing – will be first in line for what comes out of vehicle exhausts. Air pollution monitoring is carried out at 2m, but this isn’t a very good representation of what we breathe day in day out – there are stronger concentrations of pollution the closer to the source you are.
Parents put so much energy into protecting their children’s health. There are so many immediate things to consider that it can be easier to push other things to the back of your mind. Thinking about air can feel overwhelming and impossible to control. But we spend so much time agonising over other decisions that affect our children’s health that I think it’s perverse to ignore something as fundamental as the air that they breathe.
You’re not powerless in this. There are many things we can do to reduce our children’s exposure to harmful pollutants, no matter where we live. Taking quieter walking routes, signing up to alert services so you know when and where air pollution is particularly bad, and supporting government action to reduce air pollution to legal levels – a great first step being signing up to support the Healthy Air Campaign. Parents have a powerful voice and we need to use them.
In recognition of being featured on Mumsnet, some parents that we know have written about their ideas on the issue.
In February we’ll be running projects with parents in London where we map their local pollution using equipment very kindly loaned to us by Air Monitors Ltd. It will hopefully show firsthand how local the problem is and how taking a side street over a main road can significantly reduce your exposure. We’ll make a short film of these workshops so that the results can be shared more broadly.
In America they have established the ‘Mom’s Clean Air Force’. They describe themselves as a “national movement of more than 100,000 moms — and dads too! — who are protecting our children’s right to clean air — just as our parents fought for us, forty years ago, when the Clean Air Act was first passed.” I’d like to see a similar movement of UK parents unite to demand cleaner air for our children.
We’d love to hear from parents so please do get in touch and we’d be happy to hear your thoughts and ideas. You can find out more about air pollution and its effect on children here.