This week, Highgate pupils are leading a ‘Clean Air Campaign’ to raise awareness about high levels of air pollution in London and promote the health and wellbeing benefits of clean air and sustainable travel.
The Environment Committee in the Senior School have put together various resources to raise awareness among our pupil, staff and parent community, and encourage the use of cleaner transport or cutting down on car journeys.
They have produced information leaflets for local drivers, informative quizzes for fellow pupils, and incentives for cycling to school. Each morning, a welcome committee are greeting cyclists with an enthusiastic reception and a pastry, to reward their eco-friendly travel choice.
Elsewhere in the School, Junior School pupils are learning about carbon footprint during their PSHEE lessons, with a particular emphasis on the impact of travel on this footprint, while the Pre-Prep Eco Council led an assembly on Thursday, with information about the Clean Air Campaign.
Air quality is an enormous problem for London, primarily owing to road transport emissions. North Road, in particular, breaches the WHO’s air pollution safe limit, with dangerously high levels of air toxicity. Just last week the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, issued a high air pollution alert on account of the significant levels of pollution from the continent combined with local emissions.
Ms Chapman, Highgate Biology Teacher and Chair of the London Eco Schools Network, explains: “Living in London means being subjected to consistently illegal levels of air pollution. Unlike other forms of pollution, these poisonous gasses and tiny particles are invisible but the effects they have on us are not. We can all play a part to make our communities healthier and our air cleaner by walking and cycling more – and there are additional health and wellbeing benefits to getting exercise too! We hope that the Highgate Clean Air campaign encourages everyone to think carefully about how they move around, ditching the car to make short journeys (or ditching the car altogether!)”
Lily, Year 11, from the Environment Committee added: “It’s been really fun to give out leaflets with friends this week, and most of the drivers have been understanding and support our cause. Some of my friends have been getting dropped off further away from school this week as a result of our campaign, which makes it all feel worth it, because we know that even small changes like this can really help.”