BREATHE CLEANER AIR
Children are particularly at risk due to their smaller lung capacity and proximity to vehicles exhausts.
As they make their way to school, Merton's young residents are breathing dirty air polluted with nitrogen dioxide, black carbon (soot) and other harmful toxins, subjecting them to long term health problems such as asthma, COPD, and other lung related illnesses.
In February 2017, the Guardian published a piece of research that revealed all schools in London are in areas that exceed the European legal limits of nitrogen dioxide pollution, and the table reveals that Merton schools are high up in the league.
Sustainable Merton is particularly concerned by the harm poor air quality is causing our children and this is why we are working with Merton’s schools to educate children, parents and teachers all about the harm pollution can cause and the best ways of avoiding the worst of it."
Tom Walsh, Community Ambassador
1 in 10 Londoners under the age of 18 has asthma.
We are taking action against air pollution!
Supported by our Community Champions, we aim to reduce air pollution in Merton with a two-pronged approach - working with schools and working more broadly at the community level.
Our work with schools
As part of our 'Breathe Cleaner Air in Merton' project, we aim to work with up to 15 schools in areas of the borough worst affected by air pollution.
Our Community Champions will work with the children to:
measure the air pollution around the school,
analyse the results
educate them on why high levels of pollution are harmful to their lungs and overall health.
inspire them, their parents, and the school to make changes to improve the quality of the air we breathe.
I was shocked to learn that dirty air can even limit the development of children’s lungs. It’s great therefore to hear that we can all play our part in improving the quality of the air we breathe in Merton.
Isabelle, Community Champion
Do your bit to reduce air pollution
We can all start making a difference today! By making simple changes to our behaviour and habits we can help to mitigate the worst effects of poor air and improve the air we breathe.
DITCH THE CAR.
Avoid driving whenever possible.
Replacing a car ride by walking or using the bicycle not only helps reduce traffic but also emissions.
If driving is unavoidable, make sure the car is serviced regularly and the tyres are at the correct pressure.
Turn your engine off when pulling over to answer a call or when sitting in traffic.
People often leave their vehicle's engine running while it is parked or stationary for a period of time, contributing further to air polluting emissions.
Turning off an engine and then restarting after a minute will cause less pollution than letting it run - and also uses less fuel.
HOP ON, OR IN.
Take the bus, train or tube for longer journeys.
If you choose to take the car rather than the train or bus you will generate up to 30 times more CO2 emissions.
Car sharing continues to grow and many people are starting to see the benefits for their pockets and the environment. Share with friends, colleagues, and family, or join a car club such as Zipcar.
Trusted sites such as Bla Bla Car also help connect people looking to travel with drivers who have empty seats.
Active travel, such walking, cycling, or scooting, is good for body, mind and our environment.
When walking or cycling, use quiet side roads rather than the busy main roads wherever possible.
Getting on your bike
"I’m so glad I got over this “cycling in London is crazy” myth and discovered my free travel and gym pass instead. Cycling infrastructure in London still needs a lot of work to make the city safer for cyclists and more bike friendly but there’s enough help and guidance available to give it a go."
Sandra, Merton resident
more on air quality