Breathing clean air is a crucial part of our health and well-being.
Our atmosphere has always been polluted. Contamination of the air from natural sources like volcanoes, desert dust and forest fires has been around since the dawn of time. What concerns us today is man-made pollution and the impact it has on us and our surroundings.
Urban air pollution is certainly not a new problem. Back in the days of the Middle Ages the use of coal in cities such as London was beginning to escalate. As far back as the late 16th Century, the problems of urban air pollution and people’s health are well documented.
Our region was famous for its industrial output, which grew from the industrial revolution to its decline in the 1980s. The result of this world powerhouse of iron and steel production together with domestic coal burning meant that the region suffered from poor air quality. Today the smoking chimneys have all but gone, and the biggest source of air pollution is now road traffic!
Like the rest of Europe, most of the 1.26 million people of South Yorkshire live mainly in urban areas. Our towns and cities are where most activity takes place and this is where most of our air pollution originates.
All local authorities in the UK have to assess air quality in their area against a set of Government targets, and if these aren’t met the local authority must take action to try and improve air quality. In South Yorkshire, there are areas where these targets won’t be met. Cleaning up our air isn’t easy, and there is a lot of work happening on a European, National and local level to make sure that pollution doesn’t get worse. However, as our roads continue to fill with more and more vehicles, keeping the air clean and preventing air pollution becomes ever more challenging.
The Care4Air campaign helps to reduce air pollution by raising awareness, promoting good practice and offering advice on how we can all do our bit.
To find out more about what else we are doing in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield, go to the ‘In My Area‘ pages.
To find out what you can do to improve air quality in your area go to ‘What Can I Do?‘