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3rd March 2020

The Importance of Making Schools Healthier: For Our Children and the Environment

More than 40 towns and cities in the UK are at or have exceeded, air pollution limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to their latest report. The safe limit is set at 10 micrograms of fine particle air pollution per cubic metre, but there are currently around 30 areas with pollution levels above this limit and another 17 that are at capacity.

High levels of fine particle air pollution have a detrimental effect on the health of the population, but it can be particularly damaging for young children as their lungs are still developing. A report conducted by UNICEF found that a shocking 86% of UK children are breathing in dangerous levels of toxic air every day. This isn’t surprising when you consider that around 6,500 schools across the UK are located next to busy main roads, exposing roughly 2.6 million children to dangerous levels of pollution and toxic air.

Pollution Factors

The Importance of Clean Air

Pollution particles are microscopic in size, allowing them to penetrate deep into the lungs and bloodstream, exacerbating existing conditions like asthma and diabetes, and limiting brain, lung and heart development. Poor air around schools is also linked to poorer student health and academic performance, with research showing children perform worse on cognitive functioning tests after pollution exposure.

How can the situation be improved?

UNICEF is currently calling on the UK government to commit to targets that reduce toxic air in the UK to the legal levels recommended by the World Health Organisation.

We’re committed to creating greener, cleaner and healthier spaces for future generations through increased environmental education. To find out about our initiatives and the many benefits of living walls, click here to learn more.