On 11th January, Sustainable Merton - the borough’s leading environmental charity, joined forces with Cricket Green School staff and children to plant over 100 young trees - the first stage of work to create a biological barrier to the polluted air generated by high volumes of traffic along Church Road, Mitcham.
Almost every child in the school took part, and many were excited to plant their first tree.
Trees help to improve air quality by absorbing pollutants and filtering the air, and each tree planted by the children will eventually create a hedgerow that will reduce the risk to their health.
Air pollution is a public health crisis.
9,000 Londoners die prematurely from air pollution related causes every year, and young children are among the most vulnerable to long term health problems, such as asthma and COPD.
Research commissioned by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, in 2017 revealed that all schools in London are in areas that exceed the European legal limits of nitrogen dioxide pollution.
Air quality measurements recorded at Cricket Green School by Sustainable Merton last year confirmed that levels of air pollution continue to breach these standards - a problem faced by many schools in the borough.
“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, Sustainable Merton
“ It was absolutely wonderful to see the wonder and enjoyment of the children and young people who spent time planting trees at Cricket Green School. Thank you so much to all at Sustainable Merton who made it possible! We will all now have not only contributed to the health and well being of all at the school, but will have also left some lasting memories. Thanks also to the Mayor of London for the donation of the saplings….a wonderful gesture!”
Celia Dawson - Headteacher, Cricket Green School
This tree planting project forms part of Sustainable Merton’s ‘Breathe Cleaner Air’ initiative, which, supported by local Community Champions, will see the team working with a number of schools and communities to clean up Merton’s air in areas of the borough worst affected by air pollution.
If any Merton schools are interested in working with us to mitigate air pollution and raise awareness of the issue, or supporting any other air quality improvement action in the borough, please contact Sustainable Merton via email to find out more - e: firstname.lastname@example.org.
'Meet the group trying to clean up the air Mitcham breathes' - Wimbledon Times