An investigation has been launched by a group of Levenshulme parents and Manchester Friends of the Earth. The investigation into air pollution across Levenshulme, has revealed shocking levels of air pollution.
Manchester Friend of the Earth have said if air pollution levels were as bad all year as they were for the duration of the study this could mean that residents across Levenshulme would be blighted by illegally polluted air.
Each year in the UK its been suggested that air pollution causes 40,000 early deaths and stunts the development of children’s lungs.
The Levenshulme investigation started after local parents became concerned about air pollution and possible links to common breathing problems locally. Including high incidences of wheezing and use of inhalers amongst babies and toddlers. After talking to other parents a group of local parents. Manchester friends installed monitoring tubes at locations where levels of air pollution were considered to be worrying. Such as, outside schools and nurseries and on the A6 Stockport Road.
The parents group monitored levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in six locations in Levenshulme. Near Chapel Street Primary School, Grange School, Littleways nursery and Arcadia leisure centre and library. They have stated, every single result was over the legal limit. One air pollution recording at Stockport Road and Matthews Lane was almost twice the legal level, hitting 72.41 ug/m3.
The pollution was monitored for two weeks, providing a snapshot of NO2 pollution for that time. NO2 is a toxic gas which inflames the lining of the lungs. The legal annual limit for NO2 is 40 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3). There are no safe levels of exposure to air pollution.
Over half of local councils do not monitor air quality outside schools. The freedom of information requests from Manchester Friends of the Earth reveal that Manchester City Council only monitors close to 3 schools across the council area.
Levenshulme mum Sophie Smith-Rudge, who has a two year old daughter, said:
“It terrifies me to think what our children are breathing in dirty air that affects their health”.
“We need urgent action from local and national government”.
Pete Abel of Manchester Friends of the Earth, said:
“Air pollution is an invisible killer. In Greater Manchester at least 2000 people die early every year as a result of pollution.
“We know road traffic is the biggest problem – and diesel is the worst of all.
“It’s just not right that our children and grand-children are growing up breathing dirty air. Which can actually lead to lung problems for life. We need clean air now.”
Manchester Friends of the Earth held a stall at Levenshulme market and gathered over seventy letters to local MPs. Demanding national action to clean up the air in the Manchester and beyond.