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Hundreds skip school for biggest eco protest yet

21 February, 2020 — By Danny Halpin

Around 400 children took part in the climate change protest on the steps of the Town Hall on Friday

COUNCILLORS and parents were moved to tears as hundreds of children took part in a climate change protest outside the Town Hall on Friday morning, calling on politicians to do more to protect the environ­ment.

It was the biggest rally yet from Islington’s school strikers, who began their campaign in October 2018 with just five children, two parents and a placard.

Nine-year-old Sharday, from St Mark’s Primary School, said: “It’s really cool and loving that there’s so many children in Islington coming to the Town Hall on such a cold day, just to stand up for what’s right.”

Around 400 children from 12 schools turned out to demonstrate.

Their speeches and songs highlighted the plight of wildlife and the destruction of the world’s rainforests.

And on a local level the youngsters said they are concerned about waste, tree-felling and air pollution.

“Clean air is one of the biggest issues,” said Lucy Facer, of Islington Clean Air Parents. “My son is two. He was up until 10 O’clock last night because he couldn’t breathe because of wheeze triggered by pollution.

“The amount of sleep he loses on a weekly basis, on a yearly basis, that has a massive effect.”

She said air pollution in the borough regularly exceeds the legal limit by up to 60 per cent.

Green Party councillor Caroline Russell said: “You’ve got to put climate change at the front and centre of every decision. It’s about people’s health and wellbeing, it’s not just some abstract concept of saving the planet.”

Asked if Islington Council is doing enough to tackle air pollution, chairman of the council’s environment committee, Cllr Dave Poyser, said: “We have regular meetings with people who monitor air pollution.

“Obviously it’s a London-wide issue, so we do all we can to encourage electric cars. There are going to be more [electric car] charging points, there are people responsible for encouraging cycling and we’re encouraging people to go on buses wherever possible.”

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