Hazel from 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.