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Redbridge pupils praised by MP and mayor for action on air pollution

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 June 2019

Hurstleigh Gardens Open Space, Clayhall. Pupils walking back to Glade Primary School with airaction banners. Picture: Melissa Page

Hurstleigh Gardens Open Space, Clayhall. Pupils walking back to Glade Primary School with airaction banners. Picture: Melissa Page

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Students, teachers and community leaders gathered on Thursday (June 6) to celebrate three years of hard work tackling air pollution in the areas near their schools.

Hurstleigh Gardens Open Space, Clayhall. Pupils walking back to Glade Primary School with airaction banners. Picture: Melissa PageHurstleigh Gardens Open Space, Clayhall. Pupils walking back to Glade Primary School with airaction banners. Picture: Melissa Page

Sixteen schools across the borough have been working to reduce the spread of harmful gases as part of a project called Redbridge Air Action - funded by the Greater London Assembly and supported by Transport for London.

Children involved in the project investigated local air pollution levels around their schools and presented their findings to the borough's school community and politicians.

Helen Young, a former lead presenter at BBC Weather who now works for Redbridge Air Action, led the presentation at Glade Primary School, Clayhall.

Pupils from Parkhill Junior, Glade, Caterham High, Clore Tikva Primary and King Solomon High showcased their work with lively presentations and films.

Hurstleigh Gardens Open Space, Clayhall. Pupils walking back to Glade Primary School with airaction banners. Picture: Melissa PageHurstleigh Gardens Open Space, Clayhall. Pupils walking back to Glade Primary School with airaction banners. Picture: Melissa Page

Glade Primary School Choir even performed an original song entitled Breathe.

To tackle high levels of air pollution, all the pupils recommended ditching the car to walk, cycle or scoot to school.

Children heard a message from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan's air quality manager Elliot Treharne, who thanked them for their hard work on the project.

His statement said: "It's really great to hear how interested you are in air pollution. I hope you tell your parents and friends about the ways in which everyone can stop pollution and help avoid breathing in too much pollution."

Hurstleigh Gardens Open Space, Clayhall. Pupils walking back to Glade Primary School with airaction banners. Picture: Melissa PageHurstleigh Gardens Open Space, Clayhall. Pupils walking back to Glade Primary School with airaction banners. Picture: Melissa Page

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Mayor of Redbridge, Councillor Zulfiqar Hussain, also thanked the children for their hard work.

Addressing the audience, he said: "I really believe you have managed to achieve your target in such as short space of time. You are all winners.

"We all need to do something to improve the environment. A little reduction in the use of our cars can help."

Hurstleigh Gardens Open Space, Clayhall. Pupils walking back to Glade Primary School with airaction banners. Picture: Melissa PageHurstleigh Gardens Open Space, Clayhall. Pupils walking back to Glade Primary School with airaction banners. Picture: Melissa Page

MP for Ilford North, Wes Streeting, said he was really impressed with the presentations.

"I'm so inspired listening to the work you are doing," he told students. "You've already told us and each other why tackling toxic air quality is really important to our health, to our environment, and it helps makes our communities a better place to live.

"The reason why I find what you're doing so inspiring is because it links to, as well as the issue of toxic air quality, the even bigger issue of the climate emergency that our world is experiencing.

"Children across the world are taking the lead on this agenda, so here you are in Redbridge making a really practical difference, changing your behaviours, encouraging other people to take action to change their behaviours, and then contributing to somethimg much bigger.

Hurstleigh Gardens Open Space, Clayhall. Pupils walking back to Glade Primary School with airaction banners. Picture: Melissa PageHurstleigh Gardens Open Space, Clayhall. Pupils walking back to Glade Primary School with airaction banners. Picture: Melissa Page

"Children across our country and right across our world are also thinking this and frankly, telling people of my generation and older generations that we're not doing enough to tackle some of these issues.

"The voice of young people is really crucial in all of this and I just want to say a massive thank you to all of those who have written to me - you will be getting personal responses. I promise as your MP to carry your voices and your experiences and your passion for tackling poor air quality into Parliament.

"Keep up the fantastic work because it will be your generation who will be living with the consequences of failing to act longer than anyone else. Unless we take action to tackle toxic air quality and to tackle the climate emergency, the world will become an unbearable and unliveable place for so many of the future generations. This is all up to you."

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