Alex Cunningham has committed to support the British Lung Foundation’s demand for monitoring of air quality around schools, joining 30 primary children who were singing their anti-pollution song at Westminster.
Air pollution is one of the most serious environmental and health risks facing Britain today, being a key factor contributing towards tens of thousands of premature deaths each year.
Labour’s Stockton North MP was keen to highlight that a Government report published in 2015 showed that as many as 3,000 schools across the UK are located in areas with illegally high levels of air pollution. Yet, very few schools currently have air pollution monitors around them.
The young singers who came to Parliament attend Gayhurst Community Primary School in Hackney and are members of the I Like Clean Air campaign. Formed by parents in September 2014, the group is concerned about the impact that poor air quality has on their children’s growing lungs.
The British Lung Foundation is working in partnership with the choir, highlighting to politicians and decision-makers that harmful pollution exists across many parts of the UK.
“I am pleased to again be supporting the work of the British Lung Foundation to protect the health not only of our children, but of generations to come.
“Having worked hard to support efforts to ban smoking in cars when children are present, I know only too well that children are at particular risk of lung disease caused by airborne pollutants. When schools have had to close their doors because the levels of pollution children are being exposed to are deemed to be dangerous, it becomes overwhelmingly clear that more needs to be done to tackle this problem.
“The children’s powerful song highlights why we all have a duty to clean up the air we breathe and I am pleased to support the call for monitoring of pollution levels around schools.”
Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: “Pollutants can stunt the growth of children’s lungs and could cause lasting damage. It’s a worry for everyone, making existing lung problems worse, increasing our risk of lung cancer and early death more likely. We must all play a part in reducing harmful pollution.”
One worried parent, Shazia Ali-Webber, added: “At current rates, air quality won’t improve in major cities for a decade. Today’s primary children could have irreversible lung damage by then.”