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Scientists from York involved in World Clean Air Day

Posted on 26 June 2018

Scientists from the University of York have been involved in teaching children the importance of air quality as part of World Clean Air Day.

Science in action: Dr Ruth Purvis and Year 5 pupils

More than a dozen air quality workshops and assemblies have been held across the city’s schools involving scientists from the University of York.

The initiative coincided with the city’s Walk to School Week, which involved more than 6,000 children.


Bus, taxi, lorry and car drivers have been encouraged to switch off their engines while stationary across the city, and York Hospital will also work with its staff to reduce emissions from its vehicle fleet.

Community groups, including Clean Air York, have been sharing the clean air message and closed traffic to Bishopthorpe Road for a day.

Air pollution has been linked to asthma, lung cancer, heart attacks and strokes.


Dr Ruth Purvis, from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science based at the University of York, said: “Breathing is not optional, it’s essential. It is important that we try and make sure our air quality is the best it can be.

“Air pollutants are all around us but much of it comes from our activities such as driving and burning wood.

 “Through practical workshops and assemblies, we are teaching children the importance of air quality so they and their families can then make choices to reduce their pollution.

“It is essential for children to see that science is all around them and not just in a sterile laboratory and that it is fun and interesting!"

Cllr Andrew Waller, executive member for the environment at City of York Council, added: “Our sustained work on combating air pollution has resulted in a trend of air quality improving over recent years. However, we recognise that we can do more.

"This is why soon we are backing Clean Air Day ahead of a new consultation on clean air zones in the city.”