CHILDREN at hundreds of London primary schools are enduring such high levels of air pollution that Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced £250,000 will be spent to help tackle the problem.
Fifty schools in London boroughs where pollution levels exceed legal limits will receive funds for audits to be carried out so that transport and environment experts can make recommendations, it was announced yesterday.
London has been on “black alert” for very high levels of toxic smog since Monday.
Measures to reduce the problem could incorporate “no engine-idling” zones, moving school entrances and play areas away from busy roads, planting hedges and bushes, and cutting down on emissions from school boilers.
Children could also be encouraged to walk and cycle to and from school instead of being driven there.
Mr Khan said: “Every child deserves the right to breathe clean air in London, and it is a shameful fact that more than 360 of our primary schools are in areas breaching legal pollution limits.
He described the plans as “a strong step towards helping some of the most polluted schools in London.”
Greenpeace, together with 100 schools in the capital, is calling on the mayor to take greener measures and to work with the national government on air pollution.
Headteacher at St Luke’s Church of England School in Tower Hamlets Rebecca Abrahams said: “We have a duty to protect the children in our care.
“But sadly, even while they play outside at lunch, they are being harmed by invisible air pollution from traffic.”
The main sources of pollution are factories and vehicles. It is linked to the early deaths of about 40,000 people a year in Britain.
In children it can lead to coughs, bronchitis and asthma and harm to lung and brain development.
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