South Tyneside households urged to join in Clean Air Day efforts
People in South Tyneside are being urged to do their bit to protect children and support Clean Air Day.
The annual campaign, on June 17, will see schools, workplaces and communities across the UK raise awareness of air pollution and the actions that can be taken to tackle the issue.
This year’s theme is ‘protect our children’s health from air pollution’, following a year of children’s lives being disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Tyneside Council said it had been taking a number of steps to improve air quality, including implementing major transport schemes to improve traffic flows and reduce emissions.
Installing a growing network of electric vehicle charging points and introducing electric cars and vans to its fleet and operating a cycle to work scheme for council staff are among other measures.
But chiefs also want households to do their bit.
Cllr Ernest Gibson, lead member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: “Making small changes can have a significant impact on emissions and I would encourage residents and businesses to think about how they might make more sustainable choices, not just on June 17, but all year round.
“This is about thinking through travel options and deciding what will have the best impact. For example, walking to the local shop rather than hopping in the car.
“Council Members, staff and partners are being encouraged to mark the day by opting for sustainable modes of transport, be that when travelling to and from work if not working from home, or when moving in between sites.
“During the pandemic, town hall occupancy rates have reduced by 80 per cent, with Council staff encouraged to work from home through an agile working policy. This has led to a considerable reduction in the pollutants associated with staff commuting.
“Applications to our Cycling to Work scheme also tripled compared last year to the previous year.
“Air quality is something which affects us all so we can each take individual actions to have a collective big impact.”
Cllr Gibson said the council monitors air quality with a routine programme and reports to DEFRA annually, and air quality levels remain good across the borough.
Clean Air Day is coordinated by sustainability charity Global Action Plan.