Remember the week, as this was the week when campaigners gathered for stunts outside Town Hall and on Digbeth High Street, in order to launch Birmingham Friends of the Earth’s new local campaign ‘Lets Get Moving’.
The stunt involved campaigners wearing dust masks, whilst holding up a banner by the roadside. As disturbing as it may of appeared to some, the dust masks highlighted the more than disturbingly relaxed attitude of the council to Birmingham’s air pollution, and are a push for them to ‘Get Moving’ on the problem.
Let’s Get Moving will focus a spotlight on the problem of air pollution, estimated to cause between 19,000 and 50,000 premature deaths in the UK every year, and push for greater investment in cycling and walking infrastructure in order to combat the problem.
Already we have seen recently that Birmingham has been getting in the news for the wrong reasons, with it being widely regarded as the second most polluted city in the country. The Supreme Court ruled in May that Birmingham has illegal levels of air pollution and will likely remain so for the next decade.
The city’s traffic is by far the biggest contributor, giving truth to Birmingham being known as the ‘motor city’. There is a remedy though and that is by having a greater proportion of journeys being made on foot or by bike.
We already know that 20% of car journeys are under 2 miles, so there is a real potential for those journeys to be made by bike. We want the council to make this positive choice as easy as possible for Birmingham’s residents as at this moment in time we severely lack the infrastructure to allow for enjoyable and safe journeys through-out the city.
This week’s stunts are just the start of the campaign and we are extremely excited for the future. There will be lots of events coming up both to raise awareness of air pollution, as well as promoting active transport.
To get involved with the campaign or for more information on any of our forthcoming events contact Julien Pritchard. firstname.lastname@example.org