Air quality - kids' pages

What do you breathe?

Every day we breathe about 20,000 breaths and over a month you could breathe enough air to fill a school swimming pool! (25m size pool).

Most of the air that you breathe has gases you can't see. We need clean air to keep us and plants healthy and to help us grow. But you can also breathe in bad air and dust floating in the air. The name for this air is called "polluted" air or "pollution".

What is Air Pollution?

Air pollution can be added to the air from different things we do every day. Like driving cars, making toys or games in factories, ships sailing through the channel, making power for your TV, going on holiday in a plane or burning things. Pollution comes from us burning things (like in an engine or fire place) and not making sure the things coming out are cleaned up.

Sometimes when you look up and see smoke coming out of a chimney on a cold day, it isn't always pollution, it's just water (steam) coming out of the top. Like when you blow out on a cold day and you see your breath or when a kettle boils!

What can you do?

Cars are the biggest source of pollution. When there is a lot of traffic in towns, especially at rush hour and the when you go to school, the pollution from cars can make it hard for some people to breathe!

Did you know that the air in the car can be three times worse than outside?

As there are so many cars going to school why not:

Try walking with friends! Does your school have a walking bus so that you can walk to school in a group? Find out more at the Walk to School website.

Try the bike, If you have a bike, think about where you can go and how fast you'll get there if you're able to avoid the traffic on the roads. Cycling makes you fit and healthy too.

Take a bus if you can. A bus with 50 people on it takes up less space on the road than three cars!

If someone needs to drive you to school, why not give your friends a lift too or maybe get other parents to each take a turn and get fewer cars going to school!

More information for children aged between 5 and 11 years old can be found on the Clean Air Kids website.