We are excited to share with you that we are continuing to participate in the Transport for London STARS Travel Ambassadors Program. This program is designed to empower students to promote active and sustainable travel, such as walking, cycling, carpool and public transport, to and from school.
Sustainable travel is important for many reasons. Firstly, it can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming, which, of course, significantly increases the temperatures of the Earth, which can have astronomical impacts. Using active and sustainable modes of transport can help decrease the number of cars on the road, which in turn reduces emissions from vehicles. Secondly, sustainable travel can also have significant health benefits, including improved physical fitness, reduced stress levels, and lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and obesity, all whilst providing oneself with a guilt-free feeling. Finally, it can also help improve air quality, reducing exposure to harmful pollutants that can have negative impacts on respiratory health.
Our club has been working hard to promote sustainable travel in our school community. Last year, we ran a successful campaign on road safety and created walking maps to encourage students to walk or cycle to school and achieved both Bronze and Silver awards in the space of a year. This year, we have been undertaking citizen science experiments to measure air quality around the school. Using sticky tape, we measured particulates in the air and found that the loop road was the worst area, suggesting an urgent need for sustainable travel! We also have an Airly air quality monitor in the school, and the data we have looked at shows that levels are 50% higher than the maximum level set by the World Health Organization, and the worst time is during pick up and drop off. Elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide can cause damage to the respiratory tract and increase a person’s vulnerability to, and the severity of, respiratory infections and asthma. Long-term exposure to high levels of nitrogen dioxide can cause chronic lung disease.
In 2020, a ruling was made that air pollution was the cause of death of Ella Kissi-Debrah in London, and London Mayor Sadiq Khan called it a “public health crisis”. This heart-breaking story should remind us daily the effects of our actions, and we highly encourage all to travel sustainably wherever possible. We are hoping that our work this year will enable us to shift our transport habits to use less polluting modes of transport and create a cleaner air zone around our school, especially on the loop road, and to reduce the risk of the recurrence of stories like Ella’s.
Through the STARS Travel Ambassadors Program, we are working towards achieving the gold award for our efforts in promoting sustainable travel among our peers. By participating in this program, we hope to inspire others to make sustainable travel choices and contribute to a more sustainable future.
Thank you for your support, stay tuned for updates on our progress, and remember to travel sustainably, because, to quote Tesco, Every Little Helps!
Samhita, TfL Ambassador