Concerns have been raised over children developing asthma amid rising air pollution near Scottish schools.
A study revealed that more that 62% of people surveyed in Scotland are concerned about the quality of air schoolchildren are exposed to.
Around 73% of schools in the country are in areas above the WHO’s guideline limits for particulate matter – tiny particles in the air linked to domestic burning, traffic, and brake and tyre wear, according to Asthma + Lung UK.
Air pollution can cause asthma to develop in youngsters, and a sudden increase can cause symptom flare-ups that could lead to hospitalisation.
An estimated 368,000 people in Scotland have asthma, with 72,000 of them being children.
Air pollution near schools is particularly harmful as it can stunt the growth of children’s lungs, Asthma + Lung UK said.
Children also breathe more rapidly than adults, meaning they take in more pollution through their lungs.
Asthma + Lung UK Scotland is calling for more investment in active travel, car free zones around schools and increased monitoring of air pollution that can be communicated as health alerts.
“With the majority of people surveyed in Scotland worried about air pollution near schools, it is time for measures to be looked at to help protect children’s lungs, especial those living with conditions like asthma who are more susceptible,” Joseph Carter, the charity’s head said.
“Exhaust emissions from cars contain dangerous toxins such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. No one should be forced to breathe in harmful pollutants.
“It’s shocking that nearly three in four schools in Scotland are in areas above the recommended guidelines for safe air according to the World Health Organisation.
“We all need to drive less and walk and cycle more, but if you need to drive your car, please switch off your engine outside schools.”
Leanne McGuire, from Glasgow City Parents Group said: “We can all play our part in reducing the pollution around our schools and improving air quality.
“From councils that can invest more in school car-free zones and incentivise active travel to parent councils campaigning for air pollution monitoring. We also encourage all parents, carers and anyone involved in school pickups or drop-offs, to turn their car engines off when stopping near our schools.”
She added that turning off the engine while waiting near schools or choosing to drop off a few streets away could help reduce the exposure of pollutants to children.
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