Impact of air pollution underestimated

A new survey has revealed that only one in 10 people think their air quality is bad, as a new ambitious citizen science project aims to measure air pollution and help the public find out about the air they’re breathing.

The Friends of the Earth poll shows that, despite 61 per cent of British adults admitting that they are concerned about air pollution, only 11 per cent rate their own air quality as bad - despite evidence highlighting that 38 out of the UK’s 43 air quality zones are breaching legal limits for air pollution.

The environmental charity’s science project involves an experiment providing people with Clean Air Kits to test the air quality where they live, as well as providing tips on avoiding air pollution and what they can do to support the fight for clean air.

It is widely reported that air pollution leads to the premature deaths of around 40,000 people every year in the UK. In February, the Guardian revealed that there are 802 educational institutions in London where pupils, as young as three, are being exposed to illegal levels of air pollution that can cause serious long term health problems.

Oliver Hayes, Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner, says: “With only 1 in 10 British adults rating their air quality as poor despite swaths of the country breaking legal limits for air pollution, it seems the message about the scale and danger of air pollution isn’t getting through.

“Our Clean Air Kits help people to find out about the air quality in the places they care about most: on the street where they live, where they work, where their children go to school and at the heart of their communities.”

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