Home Community and neighbourhoods Clean up our air to look after your mind

Clean up our air to look after your mind

by Cathy Sheel

Knowsley Council is supporting Clean Air Day, the UK’s largest campaign to reduce air pollution. The theme for this year’s Clean Air Day on Thursday 15 June is ‘Clean up our air to look after your mind.’

Cleaning up our air is good for us in many ways: it not only benefits our physical health and the environment but can also protect our mental and brain health.

The physical health impacts of air pollution – such as asthma, heart disease and cancers – have been recognised for decades. More recently, researchers are beginning to understand how air pollution can affect the brain and the mind.

Being exposed to air pollution is linked to mental health and brain conditions such as depression, anxiety, and dementia. When a person breathes polluted air, small pollution particles can enter through the lungs, into the blood stream and can reach the brain.

This year’s Clean Air Day campaign encourages people to:

  • Learn: find out more about how air pollution impacts our mental, physical and planet’s health.
  • Act: walk, wheel or use public transport to reduce your exposure and contribution to air pollution. If you drive, try leaving the car behind on Clean Air Day and one day every week.
  • Ask: get in touch with your local decision maker to ask them to support clean air measures that make it easier for you to breathe clean air.

What is Knowsley Council doing?

Knowsley Council is encouraging its staff to make a Clean Air Day pledge, to leave the car at home and walk, cycle or car share during the week commencing 12 June – and beyond.

The council is also encouraging schools, businesses and colleagues to support clean air and reduce carbon footprints.

The Council declared a ‘Climate Emergency’ in January 2020 and committed to becoming ‘Net Carbon Zero’ across the council’s estates and services by 2040. The Council has also committed to working with partnership organisations to reduce boroughwide carbon emissions, including through transport, which will in turn improve the air quality of the borough.

Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said:

“I’m delighted to be supporting Clean Air Day, it’s a chance for us all to find out more about air pollution and how it can impact our health, and to discover the simple actions we can all take to make the air cleaner and healthier for everyone. Opting to leave the car at home and instead walk or cycle to school or work, is probably one of the easiest ways we can all do our bit to cut air pollution.

“As a council we are committed to reducing emissions from our own buildings and services to net zero by 2040 and improving local air quality will be one of the positive results from this action.”

To get involved in Clean Air Day and learn more about how air pollution could be impacting your health, visit the Clean Air Day website.