Home / Topics / Find Out More / Further Reading / Is air quality getting better? Is air quality getting better? by Clare O'Reilly 30 Jun 2023 Further Reading 3 min read Share this article Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Copy linkLink copied! From transport emissions to factories, wherever you live, the chances are you’re affected by poor air quality at some point in your day. Whether that’s commuting, shopping or simply in your own garden. Air pollution contributes to between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths per year in the UK. Air pollution is thought to contribute to anywhere between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths per year in the UK. The UK passed the Clean Air Act in 1956 but there’s still a lot to be done especially if you live near a main road to have safe air quality. How do we clean the air? Since 2010 there’s been an 18 percent decrease in emissions. Clean air day every year is aimed at encouraging individuals, business, communities and schools to learn about air pollution and make changes where they can to contribute to cleaning up the air we all live in and breath in. There’s been a significant improvement in air quality in the UK in recent years but more still needs to be done. Since 2010 there’s been an 18 percent decrease in emissions of fine particulate matter and sulphur dioxide emissions have fallen by 70 percent with nitrous oxide emissions decreasing by 44 percent. Kids want clean air outside schools In February this year, the government announced a £10.7 million fund for 44 projects in different councils across England to help clean up air quality for local communities. Schools are imploring parents to walk if they can or to make sure their engines are turned off while they wait. It’s often local communities who are taking action to clean the air in their local parks and schools too. Lots of primary schools across the UK have developed and implemented their own “no idling zones”. Primary schools, where children traditionally get dropped off rather than getting the bus, often have hundreds of cars around them at pick up time. Across the country schools are imploring parents to walk if they can or to make sure their engines are turned off while they wait for their children to come out of school. Expand clean air zones Clean Air Zone charges have for some been controversial, and they do carry their own economic implications, as drivers have to pay if they want to drive into them in certain vehicles, but they’re cleaning up city centre air and shifting travel choices so there are less cars and more people on foot or cycling. Clean air benefits mental health Finland has the cleanest air in the world, incidentally, it’s also been voted the happiest country in the world for the last six years running, could the two be related? We know the release of Seratonin, known as the happy hormone, is affected by the amount of oxygen we have in our blood – the higher the oxygen content, the more serotonin is released. In countries like Finland where those levels are higher because their air is cleaner, more of that happy and optimistic hormone is released. So, while the benefits of clean air when it comes to health are vitally important, making sure the air we breathe is the best it can be by getting out of our cars also makes us feel happier and more positive. Disclaimer This information is provided for guidance only. Please see the full disclaimer in our terms and conditions. Please share this article and comment on social. Share this article Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Copy linkLink copied!