ClairCity newsletter ClairCity newsletter January 2019 - Page 3
Public awareness of air pollution
Increasing public awareness
and understanding of air pollution
is a key element of ClairCity
Understanding the debate
Our engagement with the public has given the team a
deeper insight into the common misunderstandings and
misconceptions about air quality and carbon emissions
amongst the public. While there are some opinions that
are strongly held in specific locations, we have found key
facts that are often missing from public understanding
across our pilot areas.
Firstly, the health impacts of air pollution. When people
understand the significant health problems that air
pollution is causing, they are much more interested in
knowing more about it and thinking about how to solve it.
For most people, “air pollution”
sounds like a bad thing. However,
the fact that air pollution has
significant effects on the heart as
well as the lungs has not been
common knowledge in our pilot
regions. The impact that air
pollution has on unborn babies and young children
made a major impact on many audiences, inspiring
an increased desire to take action.
Sources and causes
Secondly, people don’t understand the sources of air
pollution in their city and the significance of traffic and
home heating compared to industry. Many people
understandably relate the amount of air pollution a
vehicle causes to its size, without realising the significant
difference between petrol and diesel. The fact that larger
engines have stricter regulations is counter-intuitive, so
we have focused messaging around diesel car or scooter
driving in particular.
Coal and wood burning for heat
is common practice in Poland,
and less common but becoming
fashionable in the UK. In both
countries, there is a lack of
awareness of the local health
impacts this causes.
Air pollution solutions
Finally, we found that people frequently learnt about the
problem, became concerned, but then felt helpless in the
face of an issue caused by everyday behaviour that seems
difficult to change. In the ClairCity materials we bring a
focus on solutions, showing how many different ways
there are to tackle the issue and that the decision is a
matter of choice for each area.
To respond to these issues, we have worked with graphic
designers to identify key messages that the general public
can understand. The graphics are available in our partner
languages, and are designed to be shared by project
partners and ordinary citizens.
To download the graphics, visit
Environmental law in the EU
How has the European Union changed the air we breathe?
As part of EU Green Week 2019, projects, cities and
citizens across Europe are reflecting on the impact of EU
environmental legislation on their lives.
The first major legislative action on air quality from the
European Union was in 1996, when the Air Quality
Framework Directive and associated directives were
introduced. These set standards for a range of pollutants,
including nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter (PM10) and
ozone. PM2.5 was included in 2008 under the Ambient Air
Quality Directive, which still provides the framework for EU
air quality work more than a decade later.
Under these rules, governments across Europe must
monitor and report air quality levels across their
territories - both to the Commission and their own
citizens. Where levels are exceeding the limit value agreed
at EU level, national governments can be taken to court
and fined for breaching the directive.
For more information, visit http://ec.europa.eu/