On the blustery day of the 16th of March, myself and 4 other BFOE volunteers attended the UNICEF UK Action day at Victoria Square.
UNICEF are a children’s welfare charity, campaigning for children in danger worldwide, and this day of action, which also took place simultaneously in Manchester and London, was designed to highlight the dangerously high levels of air pollution that our children are breathing, day in, day out.
UNICEF had a huge 10ft banner decorated with children’s art work that showed how strongly they feel about the importance of clean air in their city.
We also brought our own Friends of the Earth banner (slightly smaller!)
The event was very well organised and Victoria Square was a great choice for photo opportunities and to get the message across.
There was a lot of footfall there, as it was a Saturday morning, and people stopped and listened to our choreographed chants and the amusing and informative spectacle of this huge banner being held by at times a dozen people in high winds – quite a challenge!
The BFOE crew also held (or flew !) our banner with pride and it was a great opportunity for us to link up and support a great charity and to high light in a high visibility situation our ongoing major campaign on air pollution.
UNICEF have been campaigning for clean air for our children,
https://www.unicef.org.uk/rights-respecting-schools/outright/, to ensure child-friendly measures are put in place across the UK, to ensure children breathe in clean air where they learn and play. There is more information at https://www.unicef.org.uk/clean-air-child-health-air-pollution/
Not only do we have a duty to clean up the air for future generations, but the smallest living generation now is at the greatest risk from dirty air, ‘The British Lung Foundation’ and ‘Asthma UK’ both point out that children have faster breathing rates and their lungs are still developing, risking asthma, lung conditions and cystic fibrosis.