The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has pledged to do his bit to tackle air pollution for the first Greater Manchester Clean Air Day, taking place on Thursday 15 June.
The Mayor has promised to leave the car at home and take public transport to work at least once a week, and is calling for people across the region to join him by making their own Clean Air Day pledge to help protect and improve residents’ health.
Greater Manchester Clean Air Day aims to raise awareness of air pollution as one of the region’s most important challenges and encourages everyone to pledge to make simple changes in their everyday life which can improve air quality.
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.
It is estimated that up to 2,000 people die prematurely in Greater Manchester each year due to air pollution.
Greater Manchester road transport, particularly diesel vehicles, accounts for 65 per cent of nitrogen oxide and 79 per cent of particulate (dust and soot) emissions – the most serious pollutants – and data shows that the region has been in breach of its legal limits for nitrogen dioxide in every year since 2011.
While air quality is improving, and Transport for Greater Manchester (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.
TfGM is working with schools, businesses, local authorities and the NHS across Greater Manchester to raise awareness of air quality as an issue and offer practical advice and help on how to take action.
On Clean Air Day itself, public events are taking place in Manchester city centre and at intu Trafford Centre, Manchester Royal Infirmary and Wythenshawe Hospital.
Mayor Andy Burnham has recorded a YouTube video message making his Clean Air Day pledge. He said: “We all need to do something to clean up our air.
“In parts of Greater Manchester, children walking to school are breathing in air that’s harming their health and thousands of hospital admissions every year are caused by poor air quality.
“My job takes me all over Greater Manchester and I aim to walk and take public transport where I can. At least one day a week, I’ve pledged to use public transport to get to my office in central Manchester and I hope as many people as possible will make a pledge too.
“If we all take action together, we can clean up the air we breathe and make Greater Manchester a healthier and better place in which to live.”
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, see www.tfgm.com/clean-air-day.