Celebrating Clean Air Day in White City

In celebration of the UK’s largest air pollution campaign run by Global Action Plan, Clean Air Day, the West London Healthy Home and Environment study (WellHome) held an air quality and asthma breakfast event in the Invention Room at Imperial College London’s White City campus.

The event sought to inform community members on how environmental factors impact asthma, hear local resident’s experiences and what can be done to mitigate negative impacts. People from across West London and beyond came together to listen to presentations, share experiences, and participate in a novel and engaging game of giant snakes and ladders.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is currently the single largest threat to human health, alongside climate change. In the UK alone, air pollution not only contributes to thousands of premature deaths annually but also costs the healthcare system billions of pounds every year. To speak more about the relationship between air pollution and asthma specifically, research associate Dr Angela Pinot de Moira gave a presentation on how environmental and social inequalities impact asthma. After hearing about Angela’s research journey, a Q&A session enabled attendees to ask some of their most pressing questions and share their personal experiences. Some of the topics discussed include asthma triggers, factors that can lead to increased risk of asthma, the relationship between stress/anxiety and asthma, and the indoor-outdoor air pollution continuum.

Following a vibrant discussion, local residents took part in a fun game of giant snakes and ladders... with a twist! Scenarios relating to air pollution challenges were created to correspond with each of the snakes and ladders on the board. Some of these included mould and pollution from using a wood burner (falling down a snake), to the positive benefits of an asthma plan, Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), and active travel (climbing up ladders). The game challenged people to think about what they would do if they were in those situations with the resources and information they had, and what kinds of best practices can be utilised.

The event ended with a final presentation delivered by Dr Diana Varaden, Lecturer in Environmental Social Science and Health and academic lead on the co-design approach of WellHome. During her presentation, she provided an overview of the participatory methodology employed in the WellHome project which aims to address various aspects related to environmental, social, and health issues. She highlighted how individuals can actively participate in this initiative.

It was encouraging to see so many engaged citizens who care about the environment and how it is affecting their health come together to celebrate Clean Air Day. Feedback from the event called for more engaging sessions in the future and drawing the connections between Air Quality and wider health impacts as well as respiratory diseases. With this in mind, we look forward to continuing long-term engagement and collaboration with local communities in White City and the surrounding area.

If you are interested in joining our indoor air pollution study, live in West London and have a child with allergies and/or asthma please get in touch with us. To find out more about our work, check out our two-minute video and feel free to reach out if you have any questions or ideas either via email: wellhome@imperial.ac.uk or mobile: 07596955261!

This post was written by Imperial international placement student, Hannah Menghis, studying Biology at Brown University.