Schools are also fundraising to supply face masks for children.
Recently there was yet another study showing how pollution from diesel-fuel-spewing vehicles was more harmful than anyone thought; the latest study of 2,000 school children in London shows that it stunts the growth of children's lungs. Prof Chris Griffiths, at Queen Mary University of London tells the Guardian:
Most of London is now at illegally high levels of pollution and it has got to the point that people are thinking about moving out of the city. Jamie Doward of the Guardian talks to an activist:
We are raising a generation of children with stunted lung capacity. This reflects a car industry that has deceived the consumer and central government, which continues to fail to act decisively to ensure towns and cities cut traffic. The public very much wants better air quality, and they are right.
“It is incredible that in 21st-century Britain parents are having to think about moving their families to escape illegally polluted air which is harming their children,” said Andrea Lee, senior campaigner at ClientEarth. “This is what happens when you have a government unwilling to commit the resources and political will to clean up what has become a public health crisis.”
Schools are now holding fundraisers to buy face masks for students, which Kathryn Shaw of a charity promoting walking and cycling says is obviously not the answer, telling the Guardian:
Children resorting to wearing air pollution masks is a sign that when it comes to cleaning up our air, we are falling woefully short. Resigning ourselves to these adaptations rather than tackling the source of air pollution solves very little and is a great disservice to future generations.
Anecdotally, I am told that everyone who can afford to dump their diesel and get another car has done it; people are embarrassed by them. Personally, I note that I am coughing as I write this, having just returned from a run that included a stretch on a really smelly high street. It's bad here.