By Larissa Lockwood, Director of Clean Air, 3 min read
Following the landmark ruling that air pollution contributed to the death of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah in January 2021, a coroner's Prevention of Future Deaths report has outlined actions for change to prevent this from ever happening again. This includes the government reducing air pollution limits across the UK by bringing existing legally binding targets for particulate matter pollution in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
We are in full support of the coroner's call to reduce national pollution levels to WHO limits - as a minimum - which is outlined in the recent Prevention of Future Deaths report. There is no safe limit when it comes to air pollution but the report presents key parts of the systemic change needed to ensure no child needlessly dies due to the air they breathe ever again.
Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah has shown unwavering bravery and strength over the course of the inquiry. As a friend and valued ambassador of Global Action Plan, we are extremely proud of her relentless campaigning for justice during unconceivable circumstances. Thanks to Rosamund, the outcome of Ella’s ruling goes beyond what is printed on her death certificate – it has and will be a catalyst to change the course of action on air pollution for all children across the world.
Unequivocally this must never happen to a child again - and it doesn’t need to. Air pollution is not a fact of life and can be solved with collaborative action and education. Governments and world leaders can no longer ignore its devastating impacts and the urgent need to ensure our children have healthy air to breathe. Every child has the right to breathe clean air.
To help continue the momentum of Ella’s case, this year’s Clean Air Day campaign theme is protecting children’s health from air pollution. This is to demonstrate our support for action on air pollution for all children and speak out to show how much we care about building a clean air future. As we return to our lives, we must seize this moment to voice our support for protecting children from the damage caused by air pollution to ensure justice for Ella continues to be served.
We have a once in a lifetime chance for change. Let’s use it.