Healthy Air Cymru, a coalition of organisations and charities who work together to campaign for a greener and healthier Wales, are calling for all Senedd candidates to take their pledge and back a Clean Air Act within 100 days of the election.
The group highlights that Wales is in the midst of a climate and public health emergency, which needs urgent action to address. By getting politicians to pledge their support and become Healthy Air Champions, they hope to tackle air pollution across Wales and create a healthier planet for everyone.
Air pollution in Wales harms everyone’s health and causes thousands of premature deaths every year. The air people breathe on the way to work, school and in their communities often has dangerously high levels of pollution – which are illegal under World Health Organisation limits.
Just last year Ella Kissi-Debrah, a young girl from South East London, became the first ever person in the world to have air pollution listed as a cause of death – we cannot afford to lose more children to air pollution.
A robust Clean Air Act for Wales will help save lives and safeguard future generations. With a white paper on this already out for public consultation, the group is calling for swift action post-election to make this new legislation a reality.
Joseph Carter, Chair of Healthy Air Cymru, said:
“The quality of the air we breathe plays a major role in our lives. It affects our long-term health and prolonged exposure to poor quality air can lead to the development of major lung conditions – including asthma, COPD, and forms of lung cancer.
“Air pollution is also bad for our planet – causing climate-changing emissions and impacting nature, as demonstrated by the rise in flooding across Wales. We must take action to clean up our air and ensure everyone can live a healthy and active life.
“We’re disappointed that the Welsh Government couldn’t fulfil its promise to pass a Clean Air Act this Senedd term, but we are glad that we now have a draft white paper published, which sets out the framework for a new act and lays the groundwork for passing the act, in full, quickly after the election.
“It’s vital that Clean Air remains a top priority for the new Welsh Government, no matter what form it may take. With many major political parties already backing our calls, Senedd candidates from all parties must strike while the iron is hot and agree to bring forward a new Clean Air Act within the first 100 days. People’s lives depend upon it.”