Clean Air Day: 227 Sheffield schools and 81 York schools above WHO pollution limits

A report has found that hundreds of school around Yorkshire and the Humber have air pollution levels above the World Health Organisation's limits.

The research, conducted by the charity EarthSense, found that 277 schools in Sheffield, 122 in Leeds and 81 in York all had pollution levels that are deemed to be too high.

The report found that 27% of UK schools are in areas of air pollution limits that are above what is recommended.

The air was tested outside schools as children are particularly vulnerable to its impacts; toxic air can harm children's health, causing or triggering asthma, damaging lung development, and as revealed on Clean Air Day 2020, it can even affect their ability to learn, according to the charity.

People are being encouraged to leave the car at home on the school run and schools are being asked to hold assemblies to raise awareness around air pollution.

Dr Maria Neira, Director at WHO said: "These figures are unequivocally too high and harming children's health.

"Schools should be safe places of learning, not places where students are at risk of health hazards. There is no safe level of air pollution, and if we care about our children and their future, air pollution limits should reflect WHO guidelines."

One school in Sheffield is using special ivy to protect children from outside pollution. Credit: ITV News

One school in Sheffield is trying to counteract the pollution by using a specially grown Ivy from the University of Sheffield called the "Green Hug".

Hunters Bar infant school decided they wanted a screen of greenery to protect children from the pollution levels.

Rohit  Chakraborty, an Air Pollution Monitoring Scientist, said: "You should be able to send your kid to a safer environment which doesn't affect their health.

"So there is a lot of effort right now around tackling traffic pollution which will help in the long run to reduce pollution around schools."