Clean Air Day: This is how residents in Suffolk can take steps to tackle air pollution at home
Today marks national Clean Air Day which raises awareness of air pollution and encourages residents to take action to tackle the issue.
This year the campaign, which normally takes place on the third Thursday in June but was postponed due to Covid-19, is taking place online.
In Suffolk , local authorities have been sharing the steps people can take to play their part.
Improving air quality in your home
East Suffolk Council is encouraging residents to improve air quality in their homes, which will also improve their own health and the health of their families.
Small steps such as opening windows when cooking or using cleaning products, regularly servicing your boiler to ensure there are no carbon monoxide leaks and avoiding artificial scents in the products used at home, are recommended.
One of the major contributors to indoor air pollution is the use of open fires and woodburning stoves.
Making small changes to how you use your fire or wood-burner, such as only using dry, seasoned wood and ensuring your chimney is regularly swept can improve air quality.
The team behind Clean Air Day also recommends working from home as a way to reduce air pollution.
Improving air quality outside your home
Another way to reduce air pollution is for drivers to switch off their engine when stationary, especially outside schools.
Last year East Suffolk Council began an anti-idling campaign, visiting schools to speak with drivers about the pollution caused by idling vehicles.
This campaign has continued into early 2020, with Air Quality officers visiting a further eight schools, speaking with parents and running air pollution assemblies for the children.
The Clean Air Day team also suggests the following as ways to reduce air pollution: leave your car at home as much as you can and walk, scoot, cycle or take public transport (observing Covid-19 social distancing rules); when out and about in public, use quieter streets to avoid polluted main roads; look at switching to an electric vehicle; try to have any items you have ordered online delivered together to reduce the number of cars and lorries on the streets.
Sign up to #MyPlanetPledge
West Suffolk Council is asking residents to make a #MyPlanetPledge on the actions they will take as part of the campaign.
Earlier this year, the authority, which monitors air pollution, reported there had been a 45 per cent drop during lockdown.
They said poor air quality can harm health and is linked to asthma, chronic bronchitis, chronic heart disease, strokes and dementia.
Leader of West Suffolk Council, Cllr John Griffiths, said action needs to be taken to reduce pollution and tackle climate change.
"Some of that action is about the changes that the Government can and will bring in nationally," he added.
Mr Griffiths said West Suffolk Council is already doing some of this work locally, by investing in renewable energy, environmental grants, support for residents and businesses, Electric Vehicle infrastructure, and educational campaigns.
He added: “And some of it is about actions that we can all, as individuals can take personal responsibility for.
"It is really only by us all working together that real change can best be made. And that’s why I would encourage everyone to make the My Planet Pledge.”
To sign up to #MyPlanetPledge, go to www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/cleanairws/
'Air pollution has serious health impacts'
Cllr James Mallinder, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for the Environment said: “Air pollution has serious health impacts with dirty air contributing to 40,000 deaths every year in the UK.
"We want to raise awareness of the simple things people can do in their everyday lives to improve air quality, especially indoor air quality as we are spending so much more time at home now.
"Clean Air Day is a chance to find out more about air pollution, share information with friends and family and help make the air cleaner and healthier for everyone.”
More details about anti-idling can be found at www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/anti-idling-campaign
Guidance on reducing air pollution, including domestic burning, is available at www.eastsuffolk.gov.uk/clean-air-day
Find out more about Clean Air Day here .