Story by Graham Jones | Photo by Rashad Hassan.
Against a background of drastically deteriorating air quality in Burngreave, to which children are particularly susceptible, the march was the culmination of several weeks of preparation including the creation of some amazing placards showing the children’s grasp of the air pollution problem.
The placards were displayed at a special “Clean air” school assembly led by local resident, Jo Snee.
Chanting “We are sick of air pollution, what we need’s a clean solution!” the children carried the placards and used kazoos to alert local passers-by of their concerns.
The march was joined by Councillor Mark Jones, a keen supporter of clean air. There was a great sense of excitement on the march which was televised by ITV Calendar and Sheffield Live! The march also featured on the local police Facebook page.
Senior learning mentor at the school Rashad Hassan said “It was absolutely great and the children loved it!” and Luise Hunt from the Burngreave Clean Air Campaign thought “the children’s pictures were inspirational and the school staff so supportive and encouraging of the whole event.”
Jane Thomas from Pitsmoor said:
“Walking together was fun and a chance to get to know neighbours better. It is encouraging to see so many children and their parents making their voices heard about something that affects everyone’s health. There are lots of things that can be done to improve air quality, and we can all help by reducing our use of cars and switching off instead of letting the engine idle.”
The march came on the same day that the council announced plans to stop the idling of vehicle engines outside the city’s schools. Signs are being installed across schools in Sheffield warning parents they could face fines for leaving their cars running, particularly during pick-up and drop-off times.
Sheffield is one of the first places to introduce the policy outside of London. It is one of a number of air quality measures set to be announced and consulted on to improve the city’s air quality.