Bristol Post

Pollution Jakub running 2km a day to help create cleaner air near school

- Tristan CORK

ANINE-YEAR-OLD boy is so concerned about going to school next to one of Bristol’s busiest road junctions that he has started a fundraisin­g campaign to do something about it.

Jakub Kozlowski goes to Parson Street Primary School in Bedminster, which sits on the corner of the Parson Street gyratory – one of the key road interchang­es in South Bristol.

He said he was inspired to act after reading about the case of another nine-year-old child, who also lived and went to school on a busy and very polluted main road.

Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, who lived near the South Circular Road in Lewisham, south-east London, died in 2013, and recently a coroner ruled that her death from asthma was directly related to the amount of pollution caused by drivers on the congested road near her home and school.

So Jakub decided to act – he’s running 2km every school day for two weeks to raise money for two things.

The first is to buy banners for the school to put up outside on the busy junction, asking drivers to turn off their engines while they wait at the lights.

And if there’s money left over, he said he would buy air purifiers for each classroom, so the children at his school can at least get cleaner air when they are trying to learn.

“He was horrified to find out about Ella, the little girl from London who suffered from asthma and whose death was traced to air pollution,” said his dad Rob.

“He began to worry about his own health and that of his friends and fellow pupils since the playground in Parsons Street Primary School is only metres away from the busy crossroads that surround the school,” he added.

Outside on Monday, Jakub watched as lorries, buses, vans and cars stopped at the lights right on the corner of his school.

It’s the crossroads of Bedminster Road and Parson Street, better known to drivers and their sat navs as the A38

❝ It is one of the worst affected places in Bristol and I think more should be done about that. Jakub Kozlowski

and the A4174.

“I recently learned about the bad quality of the air around school,” Jakub told the Post. “It is one of the worst affected places in Bristol and I think more should be done about that.

“My friend has asthma but it affects all of us. It’s very frustratin­g and annoying when I see all the cars and lorries with their engines running. The air pollution just sits there and it’s not nice. The banners will just ask people to turn their engines off,” he added.

School leaders are backing Jakub’s campaign – at Parson Street they have long complained about air quality and other issues from traffic congestion around the school.

Recently, the school’s ‘Green Team’ held a silent protest outside the school highlighti­ng the poor air quality, and in previous years, the school has campaigned in vain for a 20mph speed limit.

Ironically, it seems the school’s location on a busy junction is both the cause for the air pollution problems and also the main reason why little or nothing has been done.

Bristol City Council introduced a pilot scheme creating ‘antiidling’ zones outside schools in 2019, pledging then to expand that across the city, but it hasn’t reached Parson Street yet.

In February 2020, the council launched a pilot scheme to create ‘School Streets’ at four locations around the city.

The initiative effectivel­y discourage­s through traffic by turning the roads into pedestrian and cyclist priority zones directly before and after the school day.

However, because Parson Street is located at the junction of two busy A-roads, the School Streets initiative cannot be implemente­d there.

There is an air quality monitor at Parson Street school, which feeds in data on nitrogen dioxide and other harmful particulat­es.

In 2018, it was the fourth worst school site in Bristol, and by the start of 2020 was showing NO2 levels higher than legal limits on a twice-daily basis.

To support Jakub visit­ng/jakubkozlo­wski

 ??  ?? Jakub Kozlowski, 9, a pupil at Parson Street School in Bedminster
Jakub Kozlowski, 9, a pupil at Parson Street School in Bedminster

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