22 Feb 2011 12:02:54
Cycling to school to cut emissions
Thousands of children across the UK will do their part to cut emissions during Climate Week by cycling to and from school. Bike to School Week runs from the Monday to the Friday of Climate Week, and aims to inspire and encourage pupils, parents and teachers to cycle regularly. It is the culmination of a longer three week campaign called The Big Pedal, organised by UK charity Sustrans and funded by the bicycle industry through its Bike Hub.
One in five cars on the roads at 8.50am in term time are part of the school run, making cycling in the school community an easy way to both dramatically cut emissions and create a healthier environment. Indeed, asthma has significantly increased amongst young people in recent years, a problem linked strongly with traffic pollution. Research has shown that children living along busy streets were found to have a higher prevalence of most respiratory symptoms than children living along quiet streets.
Switching from car journeys to walking or cycling helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions and traffic congestion, whilst also improving general fitness and lung capacity. Research has also been shown that children in cars in slow moving traffic (typical of rush hour congestion), are exposed to higher levels of exhaust fumes than those walking.