Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is proudly supporting National Clean Air Day, the UK’s largest air pollution campaign aimed at improving air quality across the country.
The event, which takes place Thursday 8 October and will be promoted through the council’s social media channels, will focus locally on ‘outdoor – indoor’ - looking at different ways of improving air quality through outdoor and indoor activities.
For the outdoor focus, the council is asking residents to consider not using their cars where possible. When the country was put into lockdown in March, traffic on the majority of roads fell drastically, and on the A127, traffic fell by up to 50%. The council’s air quality monitoring network showed that during this time, air quality began to improve. By August, traffic had returned to near normal and the air quality once again worsened, giving clear evidence that a reduction in car use can play a huge role in improving air quality.
In regard to the ‘indoor’ focus, figures show that people spend up to 90% of their time indoors, and 60% of that time at home. However, it is important to note that there are a number of potentially harmful indoor sources of poor air quality, including deodorants, cleaning products or smoking. With this in mind, the council is reminding residents to strike a balance between staying at home, but also considering keeping windows open when appropriate or exercising outside if possible.
Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “Clean Air Day is a fantastic opportunity for residents to learn and share information on how to take action to help make the air we breathe cleaner and healthier for everyone. There are numerous resources available which provides essential information for our residents.
“We are absolutely committed to creating a carbon neutral Southend by 2030. However, to achieve this we must all do our part. We have recently announced a new air quality management area (AQMA) on Victoria Avenue, and we are carrying out junction improvement works at The Bell junction, another area highlighted for improvement in air quality.
“Of course, it is a challenging time for everyone at the moment and I completely understand that some groups will be avoiding going out too frequently, but it is important that residents have access to this information. We will be sharing information on our social media channels over the next few days, and I hope residents can use this information to their benefit and to the benefit of their neighbours.”