National Clean Air Day – Thursday 16 June 2022: Theme “Air Pollution Dirties Every Organ In Your Body”
In the UK, air pollution is the largest environmental risk to public health. Clean Air Day is a global, annual, air pollution campaign in the month of June. It encourages everyone to think about what they can do to help improve air quality. Clean Air Day is in its sixth year, and the central aim is to help drive a positive shift in public knowledge and action. Clean Air Day is a chance to find out more about air pollution, share information, and make the air cleaner and healthier for everyone.
Clean Air Day is the UK’s largest air pollution campaign, engaging thousands of people at hundreds of events across the nation, and reaching millions more through the media. This takes place on the third Thursday in June and ‘Global Action Plan’ is re-launching it in its normal format, following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021 when activities were restricted to a more virtual approach.
Led in the UK by the charity ‘Global Action Plan’, the sustainability charity that co-ordinates Clean Air Day, the UK’s largest campaign on air pollution, Clean Air Day brings together communities, businesses, schools, groups and organisations plus the health sector to:
- Improve public understanding of air pollution.
- Build awareness of how air pollution affects people’s health.
- Explain the easy actions we can all do to tackle air pollution, helping to protect the environment and peoples’ health.
In 2019 more than 3,700 organisations and hundreds of thousands of individuals took part in 614 events across the UK. The campaign generated more than 2000 media items, and 45,000 social media posts. During the pandemic in 2020 and 2021 there were still hundreds of events and thousands of news and broadcast items and 95% of people surveyed in 2020 and 2021 supported the view that air pollution should be a priority for the UK.
“Air Pollution Dirties Every Organ In Your Body”
‘Global Action Plan’, have confirmed the 2022 ‘Clean Air Day’ campaign theme as “Air Pollution Dirties Every Organ In Your Body”highlighting how air pollution moves from your lungs into your blood and can cause lung disease, heart disease, dementia and strokes, but the charity states that it’s solvable and together everyone can do something to cut pollution to benefit our health and planet.
Air pollution harms the health of millions, but there are lots of simple things people and organisations can do to improve air quality and reduce our exposure to air pollution. Clean Air Day is a chance to raise awareness and find out more about air pollution (both indoor and outdoor), share information with friends, family, union members and work colleagues, and help to make the air cleaner and healthier for everyone.
According to official UK Government statistics, every year, air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK. The annual mortality of human-made air pollution in the UK is roughly equivalent to between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths every year. It is estimated that between 2017 and 2025 the total cost to the NHS and social care system of air pollutants (fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide), will be £1.6 billion.
The World Health Organisation and the UK Government recognise that air pollution is the largest environmental health risk we face today. Poor air quality causes heart and lung diseases, is linked to low birth weight and children’s lung development and may even contribute to mental health issues.
The World Health Organisation states that breathing cleaner air reduces the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory diseases such as asthma.
Air pollution can harm every organ in the body and shorten lives, contribute towards chronic illness and put people more at risk from infections when polluted air is breathed in as it can inflame the lining of the lungs and move into the bloodstream, affecting every organ in the body. This can lead to lung disease, heart disease, dementia and strokes.
2022 Campaign Primary Objectives:
The primary objectives for the 2022 ‘Clean Air Day’ campaign include:
- Raising awareness of the issue and spreading the word.
- Talking to others about the harm to health of air pollution.
- Walking those short distance trips and leaving the car at home, whenever you can.
- Asking local and national decision makers to make it easier for people to walk more and have clean air in the community.
Global Action Plan is communicating the primary action of walking short trips instead of driving which is a great way to reconnect with the local community, breathe cleaner air, get some exercise and improve personal health. The charity is also promoting many other clean air actions this year. The prioritisation of walking enables focus on an action that can have major impact.
The ‘Clean Air Hub’ – Clean Air Day Information & Resources
A collection of everything you need to know about air pollution in one place from the organising charity ‘Global Action Plan’. The basic facts on air pollution and health and the organiser’s ‘Clean Air Calculator’ plus suggestions on what you can do are all available plus the range of ‘Clean Air Day’ free resources are available here on these three links:
Also available to use on the organising charity ’Global Action Plan’ website is a collection of workplace resources to inspire workplaces to create cleaner air on and beyond Clean Air Day. Posters, leaflets, letters, texts, e-mail footer, pledge cards, ‘No-Idling’ leaflet, clean air travel, clean air travel choices, e-mail and intranet message, video conferencing background, press release, social media resources etc. These can be accessed at:
The Clean Air & Pollution Calculator
The Air Pollution Calculator, brought to you by Global Action Plan. This tool enables you to calculate how your activity contributes to pollution levels and learn how you can make a difference for Clean Air Day 2021 and beyond:
Air Pollution and Health Inequalities
Although air pollution can be harmful to everyone, some people are more affected because they live in a polluted area and are exposed to higher levels of air pollution. Big cities and towns experience greater pollution levels (particularly nitrogen dioxide). There’s more about air pollution & health inequalities on the ‘Clean Air Hub’:
Air Pollution Monitoring Equipment – Offer to CWU Health and Safety Reps
The Greener Jobs Alliance (GJC) and Trade Union Clean Air Network (TUCAN) jointly took a share in the procurement of air pollution monitoring equipment with Global Action Plan (GAP). The Personal Aerosol Monitor is a miniature battery-operated laser photometer that measures airborne particle mass concentration in units of milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3). The equipment can measure to particulate matter of pm 2.5. TUCAN/GJA/GAP will loan the kit out to workplaces to support Trade Union Health and Safety Reps with workplace air pollution monitoring. Any CWU Health and Safety Rep interested in a loan of the equipment for a couple of weeks can email Janet Newsham (Chair Hazards Campaign & TUCAN) and Janet will schedule a time for you to use the equipment and from there hopefully produce some reliable, quotable, statistical evidence.
Contact details: Janet Newsham Chair Hazards Campaign/TUCAN
Greener Jobs Alliance (GJA) and Trade Union Clean Air Network (TUCAN) Newsletters.
The latest editions of the GJA and TUCAN Newsletters have been circulated attached via Letters To Branches 231/22 and 262/22.
Wales TUC – Greener Workplaces Toolkit For Union Reps (Written BY Graham Petersen)
The aim of this toolkit is to provide information to help union officers and reps who want to take action on the climate emergency and negotiate for greener and fairer workplaces. It is designed to support the voice of workers and their unions. It provides information, tools and ideas to help union reps to campaign, organise and raise awareness. It also includes negotiating and bargaining checklists on different areas of workplace sustainability. It aims to ensure that workers, through their unions, have a central voice in the changes that will be needed in every workplace to ensure a just transition to a greener and fairer workplace can be achieved. The resources in this booklet are designed to be used on TUC and union training courses, as well as to support green action (a copy is attached).
‘Air Pollution’ (Asthma and Lung UK) – Take Action Environment Bill Campaign
Asthma and Lung UK (formerly Asthma UK the British Lung Foundation) are appealing for personal and organisational help in promoting their campaign. They say “Air pollution is a health emergency. Across the UK it is at lethal levels and too little is being done to tackle it.”
The two campaigning charities point out the following:
- 36,000 early deaths attributed to air pollution every year in the UK.
- 1 in every 5 people will have a lung condition in their lifetime.
- 4 million people in the UK living with asthma.
- In the UK, respiratory care simply isn’t good enough.
- Even before Covid-19, NHS hospital admissions for lung conditions were rising three times faster than average admissions.
- Lung disease is now the third most common cause of death, costing the NHS more than £9 billion every year. So this issue needs to be at the top of the health agenda.
- People living with lung conditions are often overlooked and being left behind. Their condition isn’t accurately diagnosed at an early stage – and even when they are diagnosed, they’re not given the care they need.
Asthma and Lung UK have launched a new strategy, committing to transform the nation’s lung health by challenging misconceptions about lung conditions, driving greater investment in respiratory research, and campaigning for cleaner air and better care for people with lung conditions such as asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The charity, which supports the 12 million people in the UK who will have a lung condition in their lifetime through its helpline, support groups, tailored website health advice and campaigning and research work, now has a new name and logo. The two former lung charities have come together to create one organisation fighting for people’s right to breathe. Asthma and Lung UK says its new strategy and brand is urgently needed to shine a spotlight on the ‘shameful’ state of the UK’s lung health,
There are a number of resources which can be used to raise awareness about the campaign on their excellent website at the following link:
NHS/Health Education England E-Learning on Air Pollution
On this excellent website is a bite-sized session to give health and care professionals an overview of air pollution – including key evidence, data and signposting to trusted resources to help prevent illness, protect health and promote wellbeing:
About The Charity ‘Global Action Plan’ – The Clean Air Day Organisers and Further Information:
‘Global Action Plan’ is an environmental charity working towards a green and thriving planet where everyone can enjoy happy and healthy lives within the Earth’s limits without ruining the Earth we depend on. They aim to help people live more sustainable lifestyles, make connections between what’s good for people and good for the planet, work with young people on reducing consumerism and increasing wellbeing, bring business and people together to work on a sustainable future and help young people develop the skills and knowledge to tackle environmental issues which is good for the planet and for everyone’s future too. They tackle the root causes of our climate and nature crises through research, campaigns and collective action that reconnect human and planetary health. GAP focuses on issues where the connection between the health of people and the planet is most tangible. This allows GAP to show the deep interrelationship and drive solutions that prioritise wellbeing for all. The Charity’s key focus issue is air pollution. ‘Global Action Plan’ are a UK Charity registered in England and Wales number 1026148, and in Scotland number SC041260.
Global Action Plan
201 Borough High Street
London SE1 1JA
Tel: 020 3817 7636
- ‘Global Action Plan’ Posters/Resources
- TUCAN Air Pollution Guidance for Trade Union Reps
- Wales TUC – Greener Workplaces Toolkit For Union Reps (Written By Graham Petersen)
Note: The information and resources in this LTB and attachments are to raise awareness and for ongoing reference, information and support beyond the Clean Air Day focal point which is organised to help build widespread, long term support for environmental clean air initiatives. It’s not just for one day!
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer