Air pollution is linked to one in eight premature deaths worldwide. Poor air quality is especially dangerous for children and the elderly, but it is linked to health problems that affect people at all stages of their lives. Cancer, heart conditions, strokes, respiratory diseases, poor brain and lung development and type 2 diabetes are all connected to air pollution. People living in cities are particularly affected, with 90% of urban citizens exposed to harmful levels of air pollutants (World Health Organisation).
The effects of poor air quality are felt worldwide, but the sources are usually local. Every day, air pollution is caused by our commutes to work, by heating our homes, or through our local industries… and the design of cities affect where air pollution concentrates. The sources of air pollution are the same as those contributing to climate change.
Understanding how we live, work and play – and the restrictions we face in those choices – is key to improving air quality.
As pollution and carbon emissions is caused by people engaging in social activities it should not just be individuals who are made responsible for emissions, but all other participants, particularly those who benefit most, such as employers and service providers. Solutions at a local level can make a big difference.
ClairCity has been examining our collective behaviour and practices to better understand air pollution and carbon emissions. We’ve been using cutting-edge modelling to understand what happens in cities, offering options available based on citizens views.
Citizen viewpoints about how to solve these problems are critical for democratic and practical reasons – we have to live alongside one another and to find agreement on actions and policies if they are to be effective. That is why our resources, from our game to our app and our schools activities, have been developed with this in mind. And they are fun too!
Solutions will be different for each city. That is why we are developing policy and advocacy packs that are relevant to each partner cities. Our approach can be replicated by other cities and our findings can positively influence policy development for air quality globally – so please use our resources and share them far and wide.