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Ruth desde United Kingdom

I grew up on a red route in London. I had terrible childhood asthma. Even in my 40s now I still have reduced lung function and a propensity to asthma attacks. I'm bringing my son up by a main road too. I really worry about it. Everyone deserves safe air to breathe. We don't have a car and don't fly. We need more investment in public transport so that everyone can make these choices.

Padre desde United Kingdom

I live in London close to the South Circular which is a single lane A road. Since the implementation of LTNs, the health of myself and my children has been significantly impacted. A year ago, the local authority created low traffic neighbourhoods which pushed traffic from 2 residential areas on to my road. There are 4 schools, a youth centre and a care home on this road alone. The AQ which was poor to begin with has dramatically worsened and the council provides no baseline data or meaningful monitoring to assess the impact. I can no longer work at home due to excess noise which is not constant throughout the day and night (5am-10/11pm), I cannot open windows to allow air through my home and myself and my children have poor quality sleep, all of which impacts our family quality of life. Local councillors are not interested Scthey now live within these quiet enclaves and mums for lungs are disappointingly similar. There is a chronic lack of empathy towards those who now suffer worsening health as a result of these schemes which are supposed to deliver clean air and less traffic - it does neither of these things. They discriminate against the less well off, the most vulnerabl e and are creating a respiratory health crisis. I have gone from a relatively healthy person to someone who is having to have hospital appointments to ascertain why I struggle to breathe. Where I was active and would walk locally to visit family and friends, I will now drive as I have to walk through roads which are now eerily quiet and I dear for my safety, having been followed and taunted with ' no one will hear or see you'. It impacts on how often I visit my elderly parents and it adds to the isolation of the elderly as well as the additional traffic on their road. It's soul destroying. I fear for my children's health as a result and moving away is my only option. Thanks to these LTNs, the value of my home has been impacted which makes moving and staying close to family impossible. I'm stressed, angry and depressed that clean air is becoming something only the better off can have.

Emma desde United Kingdom

We live on a super busy road, busier than ever because of a local ltn (low traffic neighbourhood). Our kids walk by the heavy traffic every day on their way to school. Little lungs are impacted by the pollution, this doesn’t feel good at all. Coughing and asthma has increased in our family

Madre desde United Kingdom

I know the traffic fumes are poisonous, not because I am a doctor or a scientist, but because I have a nose. They just smell so bad, I feel as if I am choking on diesel sometimes. A while ago the government said we should put plastic covers over the pushchairs when we were doing the school run and I saw an advert with children in playgrounds wearing gas masks. It's scary but then we forget about it because what can we do? We can't wear gas masks and a plastic cover probably won't protect my 2 year old from the fumes, which come out of the cars at exactly her height. I cannot see how we can get rid of all these cars. People don't want to take the bus or the tube now because of COVID. I don't want my daughter to breathe these fumes. I try to keep the windows closed at home but they keep them open at the nursery. I try to imagine breathing clean air, but honestly in London the air stinks wherever I go. Its hard enough to keep going and keep up with life. I don't want to have to worry about her air.

Thea Jeffer desde United Kingdom

My son and I have lived in Finsbury Park in London since he was 10 months old. Just after he turned 1 he was hospitalized for a week with bronchiolitis and since then he’s suffered from viral induced asthma, requiring hospitalization 1-3 times per year, and dependent on a salbutamol inhaler to get through regular colds. We were told he might outgrow this but so far at almost 7 years old, he hasn’t.

He takes a preventer inhaler every day. In the last episode two weeks ago, he didn’t really have viral symptoms, only the asthma, which makes me wonder what is really triggering this. We are close to some high traffic areas in Finsbury Park so it seems logical his asthma could be related to the air quality.

Dr Jasmine Pradissitto desde United Kingdom

We can only live for 3 minutes without air.....

As a physicist, I once wrote an essay on the changing climate resulting from our industrial progress, long before it had become so globally devastating. As an academic, I have spoken to 10’s of thousands of students, children, and institutions on the use of STEAM subjects and education to protect the increasingly fragile environment which sustains our very survival. But it was only as an artist and more importantly a mother, that it became so personal and so visceral, that I was compelled to pioneer pollution-absorbing sculptures and public installations. Art that shares the narrative that not only does 1 in 10 humans now need an asthma puffer to take a breath, but also the story of how it affects the smallest of creatures that pollinate the plants that become 1 in 3 mouthfuls of our food.

5 years ago, my now 23-year-old son, had a major asthma attack. We had never experienced that before and sitting in A&E in Lewisham all night watching him struggle on a nebuliser made me think about creating work to share how it feels when an invisible enemy takes hold of all our precious children. The very children inheriting a broken world they did not create.

A year later, I was commissioned by Euston Town and The Mayor of London Fund to create a piece for one of the most polluted roads in the country. There is a reason synchronicity is one of my favourite terms; not long after I met a company making a ceramic, 3 kg of which can clean an average-sized room of nitrogen dioxide (NOx) pollution. NOx is the toxic yellow haze emitted by everything from hobs to vehicles and the thing we see as a layer on city skylines. ‘Breathe’ was recently installed above the Camden People’s Theatre, at a time when Camden now has the densest number of air detectors anywhere in the world. And last year, we installed ‘Flower Girl who will awaken upon the buzzing or the bees’ in the Horniman Museum Gardens to help pollinators find their flowers on the highly toxic South Circular. Only this week I met a grandmother who told me she visits regularly with her granddaughter to see whether her eyes had opened yet.

That story alone was enough to remind me of the power of storytelling.

As communities, we once drew on cave walls long before we had the language to tell the stories that would protect our children and sustain future generations. My work reminds us that an equitable future, in which clean air is a fundamental human right, is defined by our past; a past in which we lived in harmony with all things.

Lizzie Helen desde United Kingdom

Walking to the school gates used to be dreadful... Many drivers leaving their engines running and my children, barely waist high, at just the right height to inhale toxic fumes from exhausts. No wonder asthma and respiratory disease are on the rise. We must do better for our young people.

Hazel desde United Kingdom

My 3 children are affected by air pollution on a daily basis. They walk to school & college along main roads (where there is no alternative) breathing in toxic fumes as they go. The road outside their educational establishments are rammed with cars at drop off and pick up - and drivers idling their engines add unnecessarily to the already poor air quality. At home in the Autumn and Winter months they are subjected to peaks of horrendous air pollution from neighbours' log burners. The air is often thick with smoke from these mini-incinerators - an entirely unnecessary air pollution since wood-burning is just a lifestyle choice around here. If they walk just once around the block their clothes will smell of woodsmoke by the time they get home. Outside air quality obviously impacts indoor air quality too - woodsmoke can be smelt around their bedroom window frames. PM2.5 levels rise throughout the evening as neighbours burn. And now - with Covid19 and the need for increased ventilation in schools, domestic wood-burning pollutes them during the day too. The classroom windows are open and the pupils can smell woodsmoke inside - as residents around the school light their log stoves and the smoke makes its way inside school. There is no escape from the air pollution for my children and their peers. The health risks from this long-term exposure are well known and deeply concerning - affecting not only physical but also mental health. I can do very little to protect them from it. I have approached my local authority but there is little they can do either. With the Climate Emergency and risks to public health - action at a national level is needed urgently. Action on air pollution is also action on the climate crisis. Please act now.

Sapna Agarwal desde United Kingdom

Me and my four children live close to a large, main road in Glasgow. We love living in a city with all the opportunities to connect with community and culture that brings and enjoy getting about by walking and cycling. I worry, however, that the children are breathing in too much toxicity. My youngest has asthma and sometimes really struggles to breathe.

When I was pregnant with him, I attended an ante-natal appointment at a different clinic to usual. To get there I had to walk 20 minutes up a busy main road. The midwife checked my breathing and assumed I was a heavy smoker (I've never smoked). After some discussion, we both realised my toxin levels were so high because of walking next to busy traffic immediately before the appointment. I feel so angry on behalf of all the children and developing lungs growing up next to that road.

Lockdown brought some beautiful respite but when restrictions started to ease and the amount of traffic increased again you could smell the traffic fumes in the air. It catches at the back of your throat sometimes. A couple of years ago I lost a good friend to lung cancer. She was in her late-40s, such a healthy person and keen cyclist. I often wonder if cycling behind toxic-spewing exhausts is what killed her.

Clara Orfino desde United Kingdom

I have always had rhinitis and over the last few years I’ve developed mild asthma which is triggered on high pollution days. We commute to school and nursery by bike and the kids are in a trailer. When we have to cycle behind buses or old cars it is very difficult to breathe and the boys really dislike it. I wish we had much cleaner air, proper cycling infrastructure so that kids and adults can safely commute without putting their health at risk and without having to sit behind idling cars and buses at every traffic light or junction.


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