Pupils' clean air poster designs to be on show District-wide

Date Published: 16 June 2021

Thought-provoking posters designed by primary school pupils in Washingborough and Lahore, Pakistan, will be displayed around the District to promote cleaner air.

The winning posters will be put up outside every primary school in the District, along with other key locations, encouraging drivers to think carefully about their choices.

Pupils at schools around North Kesteven were invited by North Kesteven District Council to create their own poster designs aimed at making people think twice about their impact on the environment.

The winner and runner up are being announced this week to coincide with national Clean Air Day 2021, which falls on 17 June. The winning entries were chosen by a panel including Councillors, representatives from the Air Quality Working Group and council officers.

In total, 64 entries were received from schools around the District, including Washingborough Academy, Swinderby Primary, Rauceby Primary, the William Alvey school and their twinned school in Lahore, Pakistan, the Garrison Junior Academy. Trees, the planet and nature, contrasted with billowing smoke clouds from cars and chimneys were some of the illustrations employed in the young peoples’ designs.

The first prize winner has been named as Heidi Pyburn, 11 years old, from Washingborough Academy, whose design contrasted a healthy planet with a damaged one, choked with fumes from cars.

Heidi said: “I’m very happy that my design was chosen. I’d be delighted if my poster encourages people to take action by walking to school and by creating the least amount of pollution.”

The runner-up was Muhammad Asim, 10 years old, from the Garrison Junior Academy in Lahore, whose striking two-panel design showed a pair of lungs breathing clean or polluted air. 

Council Leader Councillor Richard Wright said “I was thrilled by the high quality of the entries received, and it shows that our young people are already aware of the pollution problem and want to do something about it. We were surprised to receive entries from Lahore, but as the William Alvey’s twinned school in Pakistan we thought it highlighted that this issue is a global concern that affects young people worldwide. 

“We’re lucky in North Kesteven that our air is generally cleaner than other more urban areas, but there is always room for improvement, especially around our schools where our young people – who represent our future – often breathe the worst quality of air. Many people noticed that air quality improved during the tightest lockdowns when fewer cars were on the roads, or rather that the smell of exhaust fumes was more noticeable when it returned. This shows just how much of an impact our individual journeys make on the environment.

“North Kesteven District Council monitors air quality at a number of locations around the District, and we implore all drivers, including parents, to consider whether their car journey is really necessary. If your journey takes less than ten minutes to drive, why not consider walking or cycling instead? It’s better for your health in terms of getting more exercise, and better for everyone’s health in reducing pollution, a key aspect of our target to reduce carbon emissions in the District to net zero by 2030.

“And if a car journey really is essential, then turning your engine off while you’re waiting is a hugely positive action everyone can take.”

Many schools are already looking into air quality concerns, working hard to tackle emissions as an issue and helping to create cleaner air in their area. Primary schools can be hotspots for air pollution, with large numbers of parents and carers inevitably arriving at the same time to pick up or drop off children. It’s also a location where children are most likely to breathe in toxic fumes as they arrive at or leave school.

Winner - NKDC Clean Air poster competition
Runner Up - NKDC Clean Air poster competition
Muhammad Asim's design, which was the runner-up