A SCHOOLBOY’S artwork showing the world choked by traffic fumes has launched Glasgow City Council’s flagship Clean Air Day event in George Square.
Samuel Ribier, aged six, a pupil at St Vincent’s Primary School in Carnwadric, Glasgow, drew ‘Sad World’ to highlight the damage caused by polluting cars to people’s health and the environment.
It was part of in-class projects involving pupils from several Glasgow schools to design art which aimed to raise awareness of the air quality problems caused by petrol and diesel cars and the health benefits of cycling and walking.
Samuel’s artwork caught the eye of Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener of the Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Committee, and it was turned into a poster by SEPA to launch the city council’s free public event in George Square which takes place on Clean Air Day, Thursday, June 20th.
Samuel, and another St Vincent’s pupil, Beth Kelly, 10, whose artwork was also turned into a poster, joined Councillor Richardson, bus company bosses and other participants at the launch outside the City Chambers.
The French-born youngster moved to Glasgow with his family from Lyon a year ago and regularly cycles to school with his mother.
Samuel designed ‘Sad World’ – which conveys the message ‘Keep Our Air Clean’ – after taking part in a classroom discussion about air pollution. He said the picture showed how “people are polluting the world.”
Clean Air Day is coordinated by the Environmental Protection Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government’s Cleaner Air For Scotland (CAFS) strategy. Clean Air Day aims to encourage behaviour change with regard to car use and encourage active travel, use or public transport and electric vehicles.
There will be musical performances, a DJ, displays of an electric vehicle, car clubs and an electric taxi in George Square on the day. People will be able to try out eBikes and conventional pedal cycles and there will be details of the ‘City Ways’ cycle paths initiative. Riders can try out their BMX skills on a mini-stunt track.
Bus operators First Glasgow and Stagecoach will have a pair of low emission double deckers in the square. People will also be able to find out about Glasgow Tripper, the city’s only ‘bus to bus’ smartcard which offers unlimited travel across the services of Glasgow’s main operators; First Glasgow, McGill’s, Glasgow Citybus, Stagecoach West services and Whitelaw.
First Glasgow is giving away 500 day passes in a Clean Air Day promotion to encourage people back onto buses.
Picnic tables will be laid out on a street closed off to traffic for the event outside the City Chambers and Garnetbank Primary School will form a ‘walking bus’ from their school to the square. Six other Glasgow schools are due to send 30 pupils each to the event.
Councillor Richardson said: “Clean Air Day is a fantastic, free outdoor event dedicated to highlighting what we can all do to improve the quality of the air we breathe. We know that air pollution is bad for our health and that it disproportionately affects the most vulnerable in our society. We’re determined to clean up Glasgow’s air and our trailblazing Low Emission Zone which we introduced last year, is a testament to that pledge.”
Duncan Cameron, Operations Director for First Glasgow buses, said: “First Glasgow is delighted to be playing our part in the Clean Air Day event in the city centre. We have been a key partner of Glasgow City Council in implementing the city’s new low emissions zone and have invested over £30 million in new ultra-low emission vehicles for the people of Glasgow and there is much more to come as we continue our journey to improve air quality in the city.”
Fiona Doherty, Stagecoach West Scotland Managing Director said: “Stagecoach is delighted to attend and support the Clean Air Day campaign on June 20th with one of our Euro VI double-decker coaches.”
Staff from Home Energy Scotland will be on hand with offers free, impartial advice on energy saving, keeping warm at home, renewable energy, greener travel, cutting water waste and other ‘green’ initiatives.
Robbie Dalrymple, of Home Energy Scotland: “We all have a part to play in helping to reduce carbon emissions. Technology is making switching to an electric vehicle or a renewable source of energy more achievable and more affordable than ever.”
LEVC Glasgow will be bringing one of its electric TX models. Derek Muir, Head of Business at LEVC Glasgow, said: “With planning for taxi drivers now well underway towards Glasgow’s LEZ, it is now more important than ever to consider the opportunities and savings from going electric.”