‘Listen to young people’ – child’s plea for parents to stop polluting their lungs
- Credit: Archant
Children in schools across Bury St Edmunds are campaigning for their parents to be more conscious of air pollution when picking them up and dropping off for school.
West Suffolk Council has helped to launch a campaign in partnership with several schools to encourage motorists to switch off their idling engines when waiting for their children to stop toxic fumes polluting their lungs.
Guildhall Feoffment Primary School, St Edmunds Primary Schools, Great Barton Primary School and West Row Academy all took part in patrolling streets around their schools to hand out leaflets and car stickers educating drivers.
They also held special assemblies to teach about air pollution and how as children are shorter they are more at risk by being lower to the ground.
Regulatory portfolio holder Andy Drummond said: 'All these areas have been identified as having issues with idling and pollution. We believe the strongest message is education - I can't believe anybody would leave their engine running while parked outside their child's or grandchild's school if they knew the harm they could be causing.'
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The Environment and Climate Change Task Force established by the council says that in some vehicles just a minute of leaving the engine running while stationary - known as idling - can produce enough toxic emissions to fill 60 people's lungs.
Nationally, idling is linked to air pollution which Public Health England estimates is a contributory factor in some 40,000 early deaths every year.
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Caroline Dunne, class teacher from Guildhall Feoffment said: 'Our pupils are very environmentally aware - we have our own eco council - and we are delighted to be working with the council on this initiative. It already feels like it has had a positive impact as people become more aware of the harm that idling causes.'
Claire Ratley, headteacher at Great Barton Primary said: 'We have had a very positive response particularly when the children themselves were asking people to turn off their engines while they also reinforced good behaviour by taking time to thank people who had already switched off their engines.'
West Suffolk Council has produced leaflets, posters and other educational materials which it can make available to schools via email.