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The Asthma Society of Ireland today officially opened a call for entries for its #OwnOurAir Schools competition which is kindly supported by ESB’s Energy for Generations Fund. The competition, which is opened to all primary and secondary schools in the country, aims to educate young people on the harmful effects poor air quality has on their health, while simultaneously encouraging students to take action against air pollution.
Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland said: “In Ireland, in 2016, 1,800 people died prematurely due to breathing polluted air. The 380,000 people who have asthma in Ireland, are at an increased risk of death because of air pollution. The latest Irish figures show that one person is dying every week from asthma. We believe that some of these deaths could be prevented by improving air quality. Worryingly, new evidence is also emerging that identifies traffic pollution as a cause of asthma in children*.
In order to stop deaths and ill-health caused by air pollution, we need to act on it now - we believe children may be the key to tackling air pollution.
Our #OwnOurAir Schools Competition, aimed at secondary school students, will educate young people on the detrimental health effects of breathing polluted air, while also encouraging them to take action to improve air quality in their locality.”
The Asthma Society’s Clean Air Competition is opened to all secondary schools in Ireland. To enter the competition, students must take an action against air pollution, document the action, and post about the action on social media. Details about the #OwnOur Air Competition can be found on asthma.ie.
Pat Naughton, Executive Director, People & Organisation Development at ESB, said: “ESB wishes to empower young people to reach their full potential through programmes that engage their scientific literacy and critical thinking skills. So we are proud to partner with the Asthma Society of Ireland in developing this initiative. The #OwnOurAir campaign is a fantastic way of engaging our younger generation in tackling today’s problems through creative and innovative thinking. It is based on engaging skills in Science Technology Engineering Arts and Maths (STEAM) and using their learnings to help their fellow pupils and citizens who have asthma in a very practical way.”
Air pollution is a public health concern, with potentially harmful effects on all. Children face even higher risks, both to their health and their development. The Asthma Society has been advocating for change on behalf of people with asthma for decades. Air pollution, now considered as harmful to individual health as smoking, has become a growing concern for the 380,000 people with asthma in Ireland.
The Asthma Society’s #OwnOurAir Schools Competition is part of its overarching #OwnOurAir campaign which aims to tackle air pollution in Ireland. Schools that recently participated in the GLOBE project have been invited to compete by an Taisce. The #OwnOurAir campaign also champions the following changes to tackle air pollution at governmental level:
For those seeks advice on how to manage their asthma, the Asthma Society runs a free Asthma and COPD Adviceline on 1800 44 54 64. Callers can speak to a respiratory specialist nurse to get practical advice about managing their asthma or COPD or that of their child. The closing date for the competition: 30th March.