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Trees, transport and technology: The solutions to poor air quality?

  09/06/2017
Last Updated:  09/06/2017

An event will be held on 15 June in Manchester to mark National Clean Air Day to raise awareness about poor air quality in the region.

The lunchtime event, hosted by City of Trees and Jacobs alongside Transport for Greater Manchester will look at the problem, the impact and the solutions to improving air quality in Greater Manchester – including trees and green infrastructure.

The event form part of the first ever National Clean Air Day (NCAD) which will see local schools, hospitals and communities across UK cities run events and inspire other local residents to act for their own health and the health of local children.

The free event held in central Manchester aims to raise awareness about the issue and inspire people to take action and instigate change.

Aimed at businesses and professionals across sectors, speakers include Global Action Plan, Transport for Greater Manchester, Public Health England, British Lung Foundation, City of Trees and Jacobs.

The event forms part of a series of events held across the region to mark NCAD all led by Transport for Greater Manchester.

Matthew O’Neill, Lead Air Quality Officer, Transport for Greater Manchester comments;

“Air quality is one of the most important challenges facing Greater Manchester.

You may not see air pollution, but it can play a part in poor health, including breathing illnesses, heart disease, stroke and even some cancers. However, there are lots of things we can all do to improve air quality and help look after everyone’s health. That’s why we’ve launched Greater Manchester Clean Air Day on Thursday 15 June, part of the UK’s first ever National Clean Air Day.”

He adds; “Together we can raise awareness of air pollution as an issue and take action to tackle it.”

Air quality is frequently hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons. According to a report out from the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) , every year around 40,000 deaths can be attributed to outdoor air pollution.

In Greater Manchester this is estimated to be about 2,000 deaths per year.

Poor air quality is now an urgent cause for concern on public health and has been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and even to dementia.

According to the RCP, costs from exposure to air pollution add up to more than £20 billion every year for business, insurance, social services and most critically of course, the NHS.

The solutions for improving air quality presented at the event will include transport; technology and trees.

This free event will include the chance to try out a pollution specific virtual reality experience, a networking lunch and showcase area.

Pete Stringer, City of Trees comments; “Planting more trees and protecting those we already have is a key part of the solution to poor air quality.

“Well considered and planned urban trees can, according to one study by US-based The Nature Conservancy reduce particulate matter between 7% and 24%”

Another study, led by Lancaster University, explored in more detail how the leaves of road-side trees could radically cut pollution by absorbing particulates, even inside people’s homes.

Mr Stringer explains; “It’s about the right tree in the right place at the right time. Trees have a huge range of benefits beyond just improving our air quality – they create healthier, happier communities and make our towns and cities nicer places to live and work.”

He goes into say; “It’s why City of Trees wants to plant 3 million trees – one for every man, woman and child – to transform our City region for the benefit of both people and the environment”.

For information about the event and to register visit eventbrite.