With clean air day taking place yesterday, YES CEO Duncan McCombie reflected on what he could do to help.
"Planning for a meeting today took a slightly different twist when I decided I needed to make my journey as good for air quality as I could.
Where to start? I looked at the website Cleanairhub.org.uk to get an understanding of what I could do, and more importantly what impact my current plans would have.
It was great to see the changes in how I heated my home, shopped and selected my car had already meant my pollution footprint was about 80% lower than the UK national average. That’s an A* for an exam, incredibly pleased, but what else could I do, especially today?
Digging a bit deeper, I looked at the options I had. Firstly, I revisited the meeting, was it necessary, could it be virtual or combined with another meeting? As it needed to be face-to-face for many reasons, I then went on to explore getting there.
Drive, train, bus or cycle. Walking or cycling the 51 miles was a relative non-starter due to time and fitness and my experience of buses got me looking at driving or the train.
Considering the easiest option of just driving, I then looked at: the time to get there; parking; convenience and importantly, the impact on the environment and air quality.
Popping on Trainline.com showed me the environmental impact of my train journey against taking the car (average values assumed) which was good enough to start with.
The train would be 30% of the emissions of taking the car, and better still I could work on the train!
Arriving in Leeds on time, I was up to date on emails (cool due to the effective air conditioning) and fully prepared for the meeting on the hottest day of the year so far.
The sunny weather we enjoyed today also resulted in worse air quality due to the heat and sunlight essentially cooking the air which has chemical compounds in it, these combine with the nitrogen oxide in the air creating a chemical soup or ‘smog.’
Clean Air Day is important in making us do something about reducing the likelihood and impact of that ‘soup’ specifically on those with respiratory problems.
I did my bit and will continue to apply my learning to the way I work and live. Not everyone has the time or interest in doing the research I did but we can all help making things better, today and every day, by just taking a bit of time to think about our impacts on our fabulous environment"
Clean air day may only happen once a year but everything you do to help reduce air pollution all year round is important, please continue to do what you can to help the world around us.