Salford parents are being asked to switch off their car engines when waiting outside schools to support National Clean Air Day.
The day on 15 June is the first of its kind to raise awareness of air pollution, how to avoid it and small changes people can make to help reduce it.
Fifty posters urging people to switch off their car engines when waiting have been posted on lampposts near schools in Salford.
Councillor David Lancaster, lead member for environment and community safety, said: “Air pollution increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and asthma attacks, as well as being associated with dementia. It’s important everyone is aware of the risk and the simple things they can do to help reduce it.
“An easy way to protect yourself and people around you is to switch off your car engine when your car or lorry isn’t moving. Drivers are exposed to nine times more pollution than cyclists on the same route.”
To help get a better understanding of air pollution, Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett has been carrying a CleanSpace air monitor which maps, tracks and tests air quality. The sensor links via Bluetooth to a mobile phone which uses a green, amber and red system to highlight areas particularly high in carbon monoxide.
It is estimated that there are seven million premature deaths worldwide each year linked to air pollution.
Simple tips people can take to get better quality air include walking down side streets to avoid busy roads, walking or cycling for journeys of less than two miles which will also save fuel and walking children to schools.
The National Clean Air website is asking people to make a pledge to do their bit to reduce air pollution.
Top tips include:
REDUCE – The amount of pollution you create
#1. Use your feet, take to the street
#2. Consume less energy = produce less pollution - There are lots of things you can do to conserve energy (and lower your bills), such as switching off the lights, filling the kettle with just what you need and only running the washing machine and dishwasher when you have a full load.
#3. Drive into the future – Try an electric LPG or Hybrid car, or ask your car dealer for the least polluting petrol or diesel car model as they vary enormously.
AVOID – Harmful air pollution
#1. Discover the side streets - Using quieter streets when you’re on a bike or on foot can lower your exposure to air pollution by 20%.
#2. Get out of your car - Amazingly, car drivers can be exposed to twice as much air pollution as pedestrians and nine times more than a cyclist.
#3. Get active - Leave your car at home and walk to work or school. You’ll create less pollution, breathe less polluted air and get all those wonderful health benefits from exercise.