Today is Clean Air Day 2021 and this year the theme is "protect our children's health from air pollution". Clean Air Day is the UK's largest air pollution campaign which helps to drive a positive shift in public knowledge and action; and is a chance to find out more about air pollution, share information, and make the air cleaner and healthier for everyone.
2020 was a wake-up call. In the face of the global pandemic and the wider challenge of the climate crisis, we must build a healthier future for our children. Children need access to clean air, to safe walking and cycling routes to school, to healthy spaces to learn and play safely. Clean air has never been more important as we recover from the pandemic and to secure the health of future generations.
Dagenham and Rainham, spanning both Barking and Dagenham and Havering, has some of the worst recorded air quality in London. Jon Cruddas MP has long campaigned to clean up the air locally, including an 18-month campaign against a mass waste incinerator at Belvedere.
Jon Cruddas MP said: "The hospital admissions and mortality rate resulting from harmful emissions are higher in Dagenham and Rainham than anywhere in London. I have been campaigning to clean up our air since 2018. I commend the work of Barking and Dagenham Council over the last year but more needs to be done in government to protect the health of residents, and children in particular, who are more susceptible to harm from air pollution."
At the end of 2020 Barking and Dagenham launched their Air Quality Action Plan, a strategy to address air pollution in the borough which looks across sectors at how we can reduce particulates and CO2. Some of the schemes in the AQAP include retrofitting older homes, improving road surfaces, electrifying the council vehicle fleet, increasing active travel options with a walking and cycling strategy, ramping up air quality monitoring capacity, and working to educate local people about how they can help.
Cllr Margaret Mullane, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety said: "The health and safety of our residents and the children of the borough is a top priority, which is why we are determined to reduce air pollution in Barking and Dagenham. We're encouraging all residents to see if there are any ways that they could personally reduce the amount of pollution in the air."
Cllr Andrew Achilleos, Member Champion for Climate Change said: "I'm incredibly proud of our ambitious Air Quality Action Plan and hope that residents use Clean Air Day to have a look at it, but also to find out more about how some of our everyday activities contribute to air pollution. We all have a role to play in keeping the borough healthy."
The LBBD AQAP can be found by clicking HERE