MP Debbie Abrahams is encouraging everyone to help improve air quality for all by ditching their cars and getting active on Clean Air Day, Thursday, June 21.
Locals are encouraged to cycle or walk, when, and if, they can so they limit their pollution contribution but also protect their heart health, as air pollution levels can be significantly higher inside a car.
Mrs Abrahams, who is MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, said: “It’s important that we have better air quality so anyone living with health problems doesn’t need to worry about dirty air damaging their health.
“Research has shown that even the smallest reduction can make a big difference in preventing new cases of coronary heart disease.
“That’s why I’m supporting the call for all effective action to be taken to clean up our air.”
Air pollution is now the largest environmental risk factor linked to deaths in England, with the majority of air-pollution related deaths worldwide (58 per cent) caused by heart disease or stroke.
The British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) research has shed light on how health-harmful pollutants such as particulate matter can cause damage to people’s cardiovascular health and increase the risk of potentially deadly heart attacks and stroke.
The BHF is urging government to make this happen by adopting World Health Organisation (WHO) air quality guidelines into UK law.
Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of BHF, said: “It’s great to have Debbie’s support with encouraging action to promote and protect the nation’s heart health from the effects of air pollution.
“We know that to have good heart and circulatory health, people need to be active. But BHF-funded research suggests that poor air quality can cancel out the cardiovascular benefits of exercise in vulnerable people.
“Further BHF-funded research has shown that particulate matter increases the risk of potentially fatal complications for people with a heart or circulatory condition.
“To reduce this risk, we urgently need WHO limits for PM to be adopted into new air quality legislation as soon as possible.”
You can learn more about the BHF’s Clean Air Day at: www.cleanairday.org.uk
Meanwhile, commuters can help to reduce air pollution with free Metrolink travel on Clean Air Day.
For one day only, anyone catching a tram before 7am or after 7pm can travel without buying a ticket.
The move, by Metrolink owner Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), is part of a drive to encourage people to think about changing travel habits to improve air quality.
TfGM is also encouraging employers to consider flexible start and end times for their staff so they can take advantage of the free travel offer.
TfGM’s Head of Metrolink, Danny Vaughan, said: “Our trams are zero-emission at street level and are powered by electricity produced from modern, cleaner and greener sources such as wind-power.
“While services can get busy during peak times, this free travel offer is aimed at encouraging people to think about changing travel habits.
“Choosing to travel outside peak hours, when trams are less busy, can help reduce the peaks in air pollution caused by commuter car journeys, one of the main sources of air pollution.”
To find out more about Clean Air Day and make a pledge, visit www.tfgm.com/air