Aisling Lee - Volunteer and Campaigner
I started thinking about air quality when refuelling the car one day, I started itching from head to toe. The petrol fumes were the cause and the only way to get rid of the discomfort was to have a full shower and a change of clothes. It prompted me to wonder how much of this stuff is in the air all around me.
A year later I was spearheading a campaign for a new pedestrian crossing in my area. I discovered that kids who were driven to school were exposed to higher levels of dangerous air pollutants than kids who walked. Yet another good reason infrastructure design should prioritise walking and cycling rather than driving.
I am disappointed but not surprised that Defra isn’t doing enough to make our air cleaner. Car culture is entrenched, and seems utterly normal to most people including those who work in government institutions. It requires bold, brave moves – something I hope the new Mayor is up for.
The LSx programme strikes me as an excellent way of highlighting the issue and galvanising popular support. These days there is a heightened awareness of air quality, but people are more interested if they can find out how it affects them personally, and even more so if they are empowered to take action.
Volunteer and campaigner, Aisling Lee
Aisling has started a social media group to co-ordinate air quality volunteers and aid engagement. This group has 34 active members, who conduct their own face-to-face meetings throughout the week.
Lynne Jackson, Volunteer from the Battersea Society
I’m currently taking part in the cleaner air for communities programme in Battersea, although when I’m not pollution busting you can find me reading or walking my dogs. Walking around in Battersea, I’ve started to notice how important is it to me that the air I breathe is clean and won’t impact our health.
I’ve been helping LSx to get communities engaged with their local health professionals, as combating pollution in London dictates the future of our world, our community and the environment we live in. I’m getting involved because I really believe that our environment needs to become safer within the coming years so our future health and wellbeing isn’t compromised by our current actions. I’m so surprised by just how bad the pollution is, but LSx have taught me that there’s so much that we can do to improve the situation for millions of Londoners – it’s not too late to change the future of our city.
I’d really like to see Sadiq Khan implement policies that reduce traffic and congestion, as I’m worried this will impact the health of us living within London. I think that the best way of doing this would be to encourage pedestrianisation of urban areas and ecological public transport.
Lynne Jackson, volunteer from the Battersea Society