Sussex school children make air pollution pledges for the New Year

Photo of Sustrans officer and school children in brightly coloured t-shirts in a classroom holding up pieces of paper.

Sustrans' air quality project officer, Daisy Addison and Eastbrook Primary school children make ending air pollution their New Year resolution

21 January 2019

We are working with 25 schools across Sussex on a major air quality education project funded by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Working in partnership with Sussex Air Quality Partnership and Living Streets, Sustrans is aiming to raise awareness and engage schools about the issue of air pollution.

Sustrans’ air quality project officer, Daisy Addison, is working on the year-long project with primary school children, which includes monitoring air quality, data analysis, an awareness campaign and route-mapping.

Our sessions are fun as well as informative and encourage young people to identify the sources and effects of air pollution.

- Daisy  Addison, Sustrans Air Quality Project Officer

Daisy said:

'Our sessions are fun as well as informative and encourage young people to identify the sources and effects of air pollution whilst developing an understanding of what can be done to improve it.'

Alongside schools from all over Sussex, pupils from Eastbrook Primary school in Southwick have been investigating lichen and using nitrogen dioxide diffusion tubes to measure and monitor air quality around their school. They have been thinking about how they can change their behaviour this New Year to help minimise air pollution in a variety of ways.

Millie from Eastbrook Primary, Southwick said:

'I will go on my bike more often and walk to school every day.'

We must take action

James Cleeton, Sustrans Director for England South said:

'The evidence is clear on air pollution and the risk it poses to the public’s health, so we must take action.

'It is great to see schools, agencies and communities working together on initiatives like this, which help to raise awareness and tackle the issue of poor air quality.

'We hope that everyone who participates in this year-long project will continue to make choices that help reduce air pollution. Enabling people to make walking and cycling a normal part of their day will play a huge role in improving air quality, particularly around our schools, and will protect future generations for years to come.

'To help clean up our air, the UK Government needs to show leadership by helping local authorities fund and deliver better cycling and walking infrastructure, so that every child is able to travel on foot or by bike to school in safety and with confidence.'

Environmental risk 

Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said:

'Air pollution is the top environmental risk to human health in the UK, and the fourth greatest threat to public health after cancer, heart disease and obesity.

'West Sussex County Council and all West Sussex District and Borough Councils are committed to ensuring that our county is a healthy place to live but ultimately many of the choices we make personally can make a big difference. This can be as simple as turning off our car engine when we are waiting or making more journeys on foot, by bike or on public transport.

'This project between the local authorities in West Sussex and Sustrans is one step towards helping children, and their parents, to understand the impact of their choices and encouraging them to make those small changes that can add up to making a big difference.'

Find out more about our work in schools