WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Walk your kids to school
The school run increases traffic - and therefore, pollution - dramatically. Set a good example to your kids by walking to school with them if you can. Not only is this good exercise, it's a great chance to bump into friends along way, have a chat about their day, and you won't be exposing them to the emissions of the car in front of you as you sit in traffic.
Use your feet, take to the street
Walk, cycle, bus, tube, tram, boat, unicycle... However you like to travel, leave your car at home and take to the streets. As well as cutting down the amount of pollution you make, you can get some exercise, take in what's around you and see the place your journey takes you through from a different perspective.
Switch your engine off when stationary
By turning off your car engine whenever you’re not moving, you’ll help to make the air cleaner for you, other drivers and pedestrians. Sign up to the #noidling campaign for more info!
Drive into the future
Cars may not fly or run on trash yet but we have been back to the future and the future is definitely clean. More than 80,000 people bought low polluting cars in 2016. When you upgrade your car, explore an electric, hybrid or LPG model (to save on your road tax too - just until we don’t need roads). But if you have to use petrol or diesel, ask your car dealer for the least polluting model as they vary enormously. Check out the links below to see what incentives the government is offering and Which? suggestions when looking at electric or hybrid options.
Discover the side streets
Using quieter streets when you’re on a bike or on foot can lower your exposure to air pollution by up to 50%!
Get out of your car
Car drivers can be exposed to twice as much air pollution as pedestrians and nine times more than a cyclist. So avoid sitting in your car in heavy traffic where pollution can build up and walk or cycle instead.
Avoid strenuous activity when pollution is high
There are about 10 to 20 high pollution days a year when it’s better to avoid working out too hard if you have a heart or lung condition. You can check the pollution in your area for free here. But on balance, for most people, most of the time, it is healthier to exercise than sit it out.
Shut out pollution
Blocking out air pollution helps, so close the windows during rush hour if you live or work on a busy street. But always make sure that your room is well ventilated.
Email or tweet local council and MP
Find the contact details of your local council here and your local MP here and write to them to let them know that you care about the air you breathe. Ask them how they are taking action to improve the situation locally. And then don’t stop asking until you get answers and see change! We suggest you write to your council and at the same time, send a message to your MP to ask them to follow up with the council. Both your council and your MP have a duty to take into account any questions asked by residents and constituents - and the Government has a duty to protect its citizens.
Share the school run
Chat to other parents at the school gates about setting up a car-share or a walking bus to make the air cleaner for every child at school. Find out how you can cut traffic by 30% with the WOW Challenge from Living Streets.
Urge companies to find a pollution solution
Good companies solve problems. Use email, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to ask them to come up with low pollution ideas. Great Ormond Street Hospital asked its taxi firms to go electric and now only recommends electric taxis to patients and visitors.
"We now have the technology for vehicles which are much less polluting, but we allow highly polluting diesel vehicles on our roads... focusing on removing the most toxic vehicles on the road will make a big difference. At the moment though, the sense of urgency isn’t there amongst policy makers."
Professor Jonathan Grigg - Professor of Paediatric Respiratory and Environmental Medicine at Queen Mary University of London
Sometimes finding out about an issue can leave you feeling helpless - but this is a problem with a set of very clear solutions. They're achievable and within our grasp.
Change can happen fast and we'll feel the impacts immediately.
We believe that knowledge is power and that small actions taken by many can have a big impact.