People across the UK are underestimating the impact of the air pollution crisis in their local areas, according to a new survey.
Almost two thirds of respondents said they were concerned about the issue of air pollution, but only one in 10 said they thought the air they breathe is bad.
Last week the Guardian revealed that there are 802 educational institutions in the capital where pupils as young as three are being exposed to illegal levels of air pollution that can cause serious long term health problems.
And government statistics show 38 our of 43 UK “air quality zones” breach legal limits for air pollution.
Friends of the Earth, which carried out the latest survey, said that despite the growing evidence many people – particularly outside London – were still unaware of the dangers of air pollution.
“With only 1 in 10 British adults rating their air quality as poor despite swaths of the country breaking legal limits for air pollution, it seems the message about the scale and danger of air pollution isn’t getting through,” said Oliver Hayes, a Friends of the Earth air pollution campaigner.
“Often you can’t see it or smell it, but it’s there – and air pollution is risking the health of an entire generation of children.”
To coincide with the findings Friends of the Earth has launched what it says will be the “biggest ever citizen science air pollution experiment”. People can apply to the charity for clean air kits, enabling them to test the air quality where they live, and FoE will provide tips on how to avoid air pollution and what people can do to help support the campaign for clean air.