International Walk To School Month: Putting your best foot forward for air quality
October is officially International Walk To School Month. Charity Living Streets work to raise awareness of the campaign here in the UK, their mission being to make walking the natural choice for everyday local journeys. They want more people to choose walking, better streets for walking and for walking to be for everyone. It goes without saying that the October campaign is an important one for the charity, as they focus on raising awareness of traffic pollution and its links to climate change, wildlife and natural habitats around the world.
The average drive to school takes only 19 minutes and releases a huge 800g of CO2 into the air. With two thirds of children being driven to school, the amount of air pollution quickly starts to stack up each day. We’ve previously discussed the connection between poor air quality and children’s health, which can range from exacerbated asthma right through to impaired academic performance and neurological harm.
Whilst the impact of air pollution on young people is stark, at the same time the benefits of walking over driving are extensive. It goes without saying that a morning and afternoon walk contributes to children’s daily recommended amount of exercise, and studies have shown that physical activity, especially first thing in the day, can help aid concentration and classroom performance. Walking also allows children to build up good walking habits from a young age and to become more road aware.
Remember, if you’re interested in finding out just how many pollutants are in the air in a school’s postcode, you can try our onscreen checkers for free here.