Colchester school pupils make their pledges for tackling air pollution – supporting this year’s Clean Air Day

PUBLISHED: 19 June 2024

Pupils from a primary school in Colchester are marking tomorrow’s national Clean Air Day (20 June) by making their own pledges for how they can help to reduce air pollution in the city.

Year 5 pupils from St John’s Green Primary School took part in an assembly and workshop this week run by representatives from Colchester City Council’s CAReless Pollution no idling campaign and Clean Air Colchester, a local volunteer group committed to making the air in Colchester cleaner for everyone to breathe.

While learning about what causes air pollution and why it’s a problem for their young lungs, using activities and materials from the CAReless Pollution Toolkit for Schools, the pupils were also asked to write down one pledge each that they could make to improve air quality in the city – something either personal to them, their family, their community, or the wider city. 

The children pledged: “To walk everywhere I can”, “To try my hardest to convince others to stop driving to places and ask them ‘why not take the bus or train?’” and “To tell anyone possible to save polluting our air and try to bike more.”
Cllr Andrea Luxford Vaughan, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Environment and Sustainability at Colchester City Council, said: “I have loved reading through all the pledges that have been made this week by some of our youngest residents. As a council, we are committed to tackling poor air quality in our city to ensure everyone, but particularly vulnerable groups like children, have clean air to breath.

“Our work includes reminding drivers to switch their engines off when stationary, a loan scheme for e-bikes and e-cargo bikes, city centre secure bike parking, cycling and walking maps to encourage people to switch to alternative cleaner forms of transport.

"We hope that children and their adults will be keen to take up these actions, as well as their own ideas for improving local air.”

When walking to school, children are exposed to 30% more air pollution than adults, because their shorter height means they are in closer proximity to vehicle exhaust fumes. This is especially worrying because air pollution affects every organ in the body, stunts young lung growth and worsens conditions like asthma.

Launched in 2020, the CAReless Pollution campaign asks drivers to switch off their vehicle engines when stationary at traffic lights, level crossings and outside schools, to help improve air quality. An idling engine produces up to twice as many exhaust emissions as when an engine is moving. That’s why switching off your engine every time you wait can immediately cut your vehicle’s pollution by up to 30%.

The campaign’s Toolkit for Schools is free and includes curriculum based activities for key stages 1, 2 and 3. It can be accessed  here. For more information visit

Page last reviewed: 19 June 2024


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