Today is the UK’s first-ever National Clean Air Day!
Air pollution damages our health in similar ways as smoking, increasing the risk of serious diseases and making worse the effects of existing respiratory diseases. You can find out more about the health impacts of air pollution here.
Particularly if you live in a busy city it may feel as though you can never escape air pollution, particularly from all those vehicles on the road. One of the ways to avoid pollution is to avoid walking or cycling along the main roads and instead to use the side streets, cyclepaths or footpaths - which often offer better chances to find interesting plants and wildlife too! You can find out more about avoiding air pollution here.
You can also reduce your contribution to air pollution - most easily by giving up the car. If you live in an urban area with good bus services, footpaths and cyclepaths, then this is easy to do. In other places it may be much more difficult (for example in many areas of rural Scotland, the buses are very infrequent and many towns and cities in the world are designed with the car in mind but there are still things you can do to reduce air pollution even if you need to drive a lot, find out more here.
You can also help raise awareness of and reduce the effects of air pollution by getting together with other people to discuss the issues and do something about them! Find out more here.
The National Clean Air Day website doesn't really address the effects of air pollution on the wider environment, but there are many such effects, including damage to crops and forests and the build up of pollutants in individual animals and the food chain. You can read more about these effects in this paper from Massechussets Department of the Environment.
National Clean Air Day for 30 Days Wild.