Clean Air Day in North Tyneside Borough
28th June 2019
Thursday 20 June was Clean Air Day across Great Britain. The North Tyneside borough of Tyne and Wear, in the northeast of England took part in this campaign. Neighbouring boroughs like Newcastle, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Northumberland in the region also took part in the campaign.
Norma Redfearn CBE, Mayor of North Tyneside had been promoting the event throughout the borough by posting videos on the council's website. A week before the event she said – "We are supporting Clean Air Day on Thursday 20 June 2019. It's a chance for everyone to play their part in improving air quality. By travelling sustainably even just one day a week will help reduce poor air quality on our busiest roads, improve health (mental and physical) through increased physical activity, and also reduce congestion at peak times." She encouraged schools in the borough to participate in the car-free day event.
Glenn Ncube and Levi Samwinga from Newcastle Seventh-day Adventist church who live in the borough took up this challenge and walked to school. Children from the schools across the borough also walked, cycled or rode a scooter to school. Of this awareness event, Glenn said, "Walking to school is fun. I get to meet up with my friends and I find that I am happier and calmer in school. Walking is a good form of exercise and therefore good for my health. I am independent too and walking to school means my mother does not have to drive me to school. Walking regularly instead of driving means there is less cars on the road and this is good for the environment as there is less pollution."
Levi told how at his school, during assembly, the Headteacher delivered a presentation on air pollution. He told the children that two diffusion tubes from the Council were placed in the school ‒ one at the front of the school gates and one at the back of the school field. After two weeks they are to be taken to the laboratory for analysis to get an indication of air pollution levels across the North Tyneside borough. It was a fun and educational week for Levi whose school also engaged in Sports Week to raise the profile of sport that same week.
North Tyneside has established a holistic approach to carbon management and reduction and have developed several plans and strategies to deliver their commitment to tackling climate change and carbon reduction across the borough.
Air pollution is real and harms the health of millions of people, but there are lots of simple things that can be done to improve air quality and look after our own and other people's health. Clean Air Day was a chance to also learn more about air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from cars. The children are now motivated to walk more to school in order to do their bit for the environment by reducing poor air quality.