Greater Manchester was among the United Kingdom’s many counties and regions asking residents to take a pledge to reduce air pollution, as part of Clean Air Day action in the country.
Last year, the BreatheLife campaign region obtained over 2,500 pledges during the UK’s first Clean Air Day.
This year’s Clean Air Day takes place amid growing awareness of air pollution issues in the UK, after the High Court ruled three times that the country’s plans to deal with illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution were inadequate.
Fuelling that awareness are studies like this one, which priced the staggering health cost of vehicle pollution in the country.
UNICEF added to this growing body of evidence today with the release of a report that showed that a third of children in the UK lived in places where the levels of fine particulate pollution were unsafe according to World Health Organization guidelines.
It also found that children walking along busy roads were exposed to a third more air pollution than adults.
In the Greater Manchester area alone, up to 2,000 people are estimated to die prematurely each year as a result of polluted air.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that poor air quality is one of the biggest – and deadliest – challenges of the modern age,” said Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.
“I’m working with local councils and transport and health trusts to make sure we’re doing everything we can to tackle this problem. But the stark truth is, we can’t succeed alone,” he said.
“This year I want to see even more people take long-term action. Every single one of us needs to think about making small lifestyle changes to help clean up the air we all breathe. ”
Public transport was free today before 7am and after 7pm, to encourage more people to leave their cars at home.
Read more about Greater Manchester’s Clean Air Day efforts here, and more about UK’s Clean Air Day here.