People across Greater Manchester are being asked to help clean up the air we all breathe and join in the UK’s first ever Clean Air Day (Thursday 15 June).
A series of events take place across Greater Manchester on the day to raise awareness of air pollution as one of the most important challenges currently facing us all.
It is estimated that up to 2,000 people die prematurely in Greater Manchester each year due to air pollution.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) are calling on people to make their own Clean Air Day pledge and play their part in protecting and improving residents’ health.
Mayor Andy Burnham has pledged to do his bit by making a simple everyday life change – leaving the car at home and taking public transport to work at least once a week.
A Clean Air Dome in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester city centre (7.30am-5.30pm) will host health professionals offering people a free ‘lung MOT’ with a special monitor check.
People can also try out a special ‘rolling road’ test on an eBike to see how it can help you cycle up even the most daunting hill – and check out the latest fully-electric cars.
TfGM’s Active Travel team will be in the Orient area at intu Trafford Centre (10am-6pm) to give advice on air pollution and how to improve your health, with health professionals offering a lung health check.
People can also drop by the Manchester Royal Infirmary Atrium (10am-2pm) and Wythenshawe Hospital (10am-2pm) to speak with health professionals, get advice and information on air quality, and find out more about sustainable travel options.
Primary schools across Greater Manchester are joining in Clean Air Day by taking part in a special competition to create viral social media adverts highlighting what people can do to improve air quality – with workshops taking place on the day.
TfGM is also working with more than 500 businesses and other organisations to help them work more sustainably and take practical steps to reduce their company and staff’s contribution to air pollution.
Mayor Andy Burnham said: “You might not be able to see it, but air pollution is one of the greatest challenges to Greater Manchester’s health.
“It’s not something that any one person or organisation can tackle alone – we all have to play our part. Just a simple change to your everyday life can make a difference for the whole community if we all join in.
“I encourage everyone to make their pledge now. Can you use public transport or walk or cycle more often?
“Perhaps walking the kids to school is an option, or you could introduce home-working or a car sharing scheme for your employees. And if you already do all those things, encourage your family and friends to play their part too.
“I’ve made my pledge and I call on everybody else to think about what they can do to help improve the air our children breathe.”
Helen Smith, TfGM’s Head of Logistics, Environment and Active Travel, added: “We’re very excited to participate in the UK’s first Clean Air Day and there’s plenty going on across the region for everyone to join in and find out more about how air quality affects us all.
“Both short and long-term exposure to air pollutants can affect people’s health, with poor air quality contributing to respiratory illness, heart disease and some cancers.
“We’re working with schools, businesses, local authorities and the NHS across Greater Manchester to raise awareness of this and offer practical advice and help on how to take action.
“I encourage people to visit the TfGM website to see what’s happening on Clean Air Day, get involved and – most importantly – make your pledge to help clean up Greater Manchester’s air.”
While air quality is improving, and TfGM and local councils are busy implementing the policies and measures in Greater Manchester’s Low Emission Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan, much more can still be done by residents and businesses to address air pollution in the region.
To join the Mayor and make a Clean Air Day pledge visit www.tfgm.com/pledge.
For further information on Greater Manchester Clean Air Day visit www.tfgm.com/clean-air-day.
People can follow the day and share their pledge and activities on social media using #GMCleanAirDay.