Barking and Dagenham motorists urged not to drive for Clean Air Day
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Drivers are being urged to ditch their vehicles for 24 hours as the borough marks Clean Air Day.
Barking and Dagenham Council has called on people to consider the contributions they make towards air pollution during the awareness raising day on Thursday, June 17.
Clean Air Day aims to improve public understanding of toxic air, build awareness of how it affects health and explain the actions that can be taken to tackle it.
Cllr Margaret Mullane, cabinet member for enforcement and community safety, said: "The health and safety of our residents is our top priority so that’s why we’re determined to reduce air pollution in Barking and Dagenham.
"I’d like to encourage all residents to see if there are any ways that they could personally reduce the amount of pollution in the air."
A 2019 study by the British Heart Foundation found levels of pollution in the borough increase the risk of an early death by the equivalent of smoking an average 153 cigarettes a year.
The council declared a climate emergency in February 2020 and pledged to become the 'green capital' of London.
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The town hall is asking people to mark Clean Air Day by walking, cycling or taking public transport, rather than driving.
Those who do drive have been called on to turn their engines off when not moving.
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A subsidised breakfast has been offered to any child who walks, cycles, scoots or takes the bus to school by the council’s regeneration company, Be First.
The offer applies to all primaries in the borough which promote the day.
Bike owners will also be able to get their bikes fixed for free by Dr Bike outside Barking Town Hall from 10am to 4pm on the day.
There will also be bike riding lessons at the Cycle Hub in Minter Road, Barking Riverside.
Cllr Andrew Achilleos, the town hall's member champion for climate change, said: "Improving the quality of air in Barking and Dagenham is an absolute priority for the council as we want to ensure residents live in a healthy borough.
"To do this, we all need to work together."
For more on Clean Air Day, head to cleanairday.org.uk