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National Clean Air Day – Thursday 8 October 2020

No. 487/2020 Our Ref:  E1/20

To:  All Branches Dear Colleagues,

National Clean Air Day – Thursday 8 October 2020: Clean Air Day is a global, annual, air pollution campaign, normally in June but this year in October due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.  It encourages everyone to think about what they can do to help improve air quality.

Air pollution harms the health of millions, but there are lots of simple things people and organisations can do to improve air quality and reduce our exposure to air pollution. Clean Air Day is a chance to find out more about air pollution (both indoor and outdoor), share information with friends, family and colleagues, and help to make the air cleaner and healthier for everyone.

Every year, air pollution causes up to 36,000 deaths in the UK.  The World Health Organisation and the UK Government recognise that air pollution is the largest environmental health risk we face today. Poor air quality causes heart and lung diseases, is linked to low birth weight and children’s lung development and may even contribute to mental health issues.

By breathing cleaner air, the World Health Organization states that you can reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory diseases such as asthma.

Clean Air Day is the UK’s largest air pollution campaign, engaging thousands of people at hundreds of events, and reaching millions more through the media. The campaign normally takes place on the third Thursday in June. However, due to COVID-19, this year Clean Air Day is taking place on 8 October 2020 and will be rolled out slightly differently. To keep people, families, friends and colleagues safe, the organisers have updated the campaign to be more virtual.

Led in the UK by the charity ‘Global Action Plan’, Clean Air Day brings together communities, businesses, schools, groups and organisations plus the health sector to:

  • Improve public understanding of air pollution.

  • Build awareness of how air pollution affects people’s health.

  • Explain the easy actions we can all do to tackle air pollution, helping to protect the environment and our health.

In 2019 more than 3,700 organisations and hundreds of thousands of individuals took part in 614 events across the UK. The campaign generated more than 2000 media items, and 45,000 social media posts. See attached full report. The charity behind Clean Air Day has developed new resources for 2020 which focus on being virtual and COVID-19 secure, and is encouraging organisations and individuals to get involved.

This year’s campaign theme and tagline is: ‘We all have a part to play in keeping our air clean – together let’s make October 8 the cleanest Clean Air Day yet’, following the improvement in air pollution seen earlier this year and the charity challenging government, businesses and local authorities to help keep air pollution down post lockdown.

The resources have been updated so that Clean Air Day 2020 can continue to be successful in providing information to people on air pollution and encouraging people to undertake low air pollution behaviours while being COVID-19 secure, with the charity focusing on making the tools and assets more virtual. These include digital leaflets and posters, school lesson plans, PR social media packs, ‘How to guides’ such as organising ‘School Streets’ or running socially distanced ‘walking buses’ and template letters to MPs.

In launching the event ‘Global Action Plan’ said “Together we can make October 8 the cleanest Clean Air Day yet, building on the shifts recently seen in low pollution behaviours. Organisations and individuals are invited to take part, recognising the role we all play in keeping our air clean.”

Workplace Resources Use the organising charity’s collection of workplace resources to inspire workplaces to create cleaner air on and beyond Clean Air Day.  These include posters, clean van commitment, letters, texts, clean air recovery essentials, e-mail footer, pledge cards, ‘No-Idling’ leaflet, clean air travel, clean air travel choices, e-mail and intranet message, video conferencing background, press release, social media resources.

Clean Air Day Information The basic facts on, air pollution and health, the ‘Clean Air Calculator’ and what you can do can be found here:

The Clean Air Hub A collection of everything you need to know about air pollution in one place from the organisers can be found here:

Air Pollution Monitoring Equipment – Offer to CWU Health and Safety Reps Earlier this year Greener Jobs Alliance(GJC) and Trade Union Clean Air Network (TUCAN) jointly took a share in the procurement of air pollution monitoring equipment with Global Action Plan (GAP). The Personal Aerosol Monitor is a miniature battery-operated laser photometer that measures airborne particle mass concentration in units of milligrams per cubic meter (mg/m3). The equipment can measure to particulate matter of pm 2.5.

TUCAN/GJA/GAP is now looking to loan it out to workplaces to support Trade Union Health and Safety Reps with workplace air pollution monitoring.

Any CWU Health and Safety Rep interested in a loan of the equipment for a couple of weeks can email Janet Newsham (Chair Hazards Campaign & TUCAN) and Janet will schedule a time for you to use the equipment and from there hopefully produce some reliable, quotable, statistical evidence.

Contact details: Janet Newsham Chair Hazards Campaign/TUCAN Email: Mob: 07734317158

Global Action Plan Air Quality On-Line Survey Global Action Plan(GAP) are organising an on-line survey seeking to determine the extent to which air quality is a significant issue in UK workplaces. Answers to the survey will be used to inform the charity’s project which is looking into clean air workplaces. All survey returns will remain anonymous. Please share the survey widely and encourage all CWU Reps to complete it. The survey can be completed at:

Greener Jobs Alliance (GJA) and Trade Union Clean Air Network (TUCAN) Newsletters.

The latest editions of the GJA and TUCAN Newsletters have been circulated attached to LTBs 476/20 and 477/20.

‘Air Pollution’ (Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Partnership) – Environment Bill Campaign ‘Air Pollution’ (Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Partnership) have re-launched their campaign pushing for World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for PM2.5 to be included in the Environment Bill. They have produced a new ‘campaign webpage’ with a ‘write to your MP action’ (with draft letters for people with and without a lung condition) which asks MPs to support WHO limits. There is also a new video, which you can see on the page, which focuses on real human voices and stories calling for WHO limits. They hope that this action will help to ensure that MPs across the country realise what a serious effect air pollution has on people with a lung condition and support the shared call for WHO limits. They are also appealing for personal and organisational help in promoting the campaign. There are a number of resources which can be used to raise awareness about the campaign on the website at the following link:-

What does pm2.5 mean? PM2.5 refers to particles that have a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (more than 100 times thinner than a human hair) and remain suspended for longer. These particles are formed as a result of burning fuel and chemical reactions that take place in the atmosphere. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is an air pollutant that is a concern for people’s health when levels in air are high. PM2.5 are tiny particles in the air that reduce visibility and cause the air to appear hazy when levels are elevated. Breathing in particle pollution can be harmful to your health. Coarse (bigger) particles, called PM10, can irritate your eyes, nose, and throat. Fine (smaller) particles, called PM2.5, are more dangerous because they can get into the deep parts of your lungs — or even into your blood.

‘Greener UK’ –  and the Environment Bill ‘Greener UK’ is a coalition of 13 major environmental organisations (RSPB, National Trust, Wildlife Trusts, WWF, Campaign For Better Transport, Campaign to Protect Rural England, ClientEarth, E3G, Friends of The Earth, Green Alliance, Greenpeace, WWT, Woodland Trust) with a combined public membership of 8 million. The coalition was launched in 2016 – united in the belief of the need to restore and enhance the UK’s environment with a vision of making a greener UK a reality. They say it’s now 200 days since the government’s ‘flagship’ Environment Bill was seen in parliament and ministers need to bring the bill back urgently and commit to more ambitious clean air laws. Tweet support – the hashtag is: #BringBacktheBill.

Clean Air Day Organisers – ‘Global Action Plan’ – Further Information ‘Global Action Plan’ are a UK Charity registered in England and Wales number 1026148, and in Scotland number SC041260. ‘Global Action Plan’ is a charity that’s working for a green and thriving planet where we can live happily without ruining the Earth we depend on. They aim to help people live more sustainable lifestyles, make connections between what’s good for people and good for the planet, work with young people on reducing consumerism and increasing wellbeing, bring business and people together to work on a sustainable future and help young people develop the skills and knowledge to tackle environmental issues which is good for the planet and for everyone’s future too.

For further information: Global Action Plan 201 Borough High Street London SE1 1JA 020 3817 7636 Email:


  • Global Action Plan ‘Clean Air Day 2019 Report

  • TUCAN Air Pollution Guidance for Trade Union Reps

Yours sincerely Dave Joyce National Health, Safety & Environment Officer

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