School pupils launch Clean Air Day in Scotland

Pupils at a Glasgow school have launched Clean Air Day in Scotland, ahead of the campaign on 16 June.

St Joseph’s Primary School is just a few hundred yards outside of the city’s existing Low Emission Zone (LEZ), which currently only affects buses.

Three other LEZs are expected to be introduced in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee later this year.

Pupils and teachers met with Cllr Angus Millar, Glasgow City Council’s new Convener for Climate, Glasgow Green Deal, Transport and City Centre Recovery to launch the campaign, alongside an electric First Glasgow bus that read ‘Clean Air Day – 16th June 2022’ outside the school.

They were joined by Susan Allan, the headteacher of St Joseph’s Primary School, Robert Burns, First Glasgow Stakeholder Engagement Officer and bus driver Jason McDonald.

Clean Air Day Scotland is coordinated by the charity Environmental Protection Scotland (EPS), working with the campaign’s overall UK organisers Global Action Plan.

The charities are asking people to cycle, walk or scoot and to give the car a day off on 16 June.  Research has found that almost one-quarter (23%) of vehicle trips are of distances of less than one mile in Scotland, journeys which can be easily achieved by sustainable travel.

John Bynorth, Policy and Communications Officer at Environmental Protection Scotland (EPS), which coordinates Clean Air Day across Scotland, on behalf of the Scottish Government’s air quality strategy, Cleaner Air for Scotland (CAFS 2), said: ‘We are delighted to launch Clean Air Day with St Joseph’s Primary School during such a momentous year for air quality in Scotland. The proposals for Low Emission Zones to be implemented represent as big a milestone as the Clean Air Act of 1956, which tackled the problem of smogs in major cities caused by industrial emissions.

‘Clean Air Day every year resonates more highly with people in Scotland and the campaign is now established as one that helps them make informed choices about their lifestyles to reduce their contribution to air pollution.’

Pupils at St Joseph’s have been studying air pollution as part of their eco-studies under the Scottish Government’s Learning for Sustainability (LfS) approach to the curriculum.

Last year’s COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow gave further impetus to the research and the children are encouraged to cycle, scoot or walk to the school, which lies near to a busy main route into and out of Glasgow city centre.

St Joseph’s Primary School Principal Teacher, Laura Redmond, said: ‘We are continuously exploring creative and engaging ways of delivering Learning for Sustainability, an entitlement for all learners. We are also working to ensure our learners have an understanding and experience of all the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by the time they leave us in Primary 7 to help our school work towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

‘It is important to us that climate action and a focus on clean air is not a series of stand-alone events but an ongoing focus for our children and their learning. As a result, over the past few sessions, we have linked the themes of clean air and the relevant sustainable goals to other areas such as Literacy and English, Art and Design and more recently social enterprise in which the P4/3 class explored ways to reduce the air pollution around the school as we are situated in a high-traffic area with motorists idling their car engines waiting at the traffic lights.

‘By having this continued focus that extends beyond Clean Air Day, we are not only helping the environment but supporting our pupils to become environmentally responsible citizens of the future.’

Photo by Mark Gibson


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