Sapna Agarwal from 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.