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From our own correspondent

sustainability community textiles Saleema Imam

Saleema’s summer column

Saleema Imam

Clean Air for Sheffield

"Let us breathe!" By Graham Jones

Burngreave is an inner city area of Sheffield. It is one of the most deprived areas of the city. It is rich in having residents whose origins are from dozens of countries around the world. It is a great place to live.

It also has some of the worst, and illegal, air pollution in Sheffield as I highlighted four years ago in an article for our community newspaper, the Burngreave Messenger. I was overwhelmed by the response as a number of local people contacted me saying they would be happy to involved in doing something about this.

Burngreave Clean Air Campaign was born. We started doing monthly nitrogen dioxide monitoring in our area and were horrified by the results. We campaign with a number of local organisations and try to get out on the streets and hold stalls and talk to local people to raise awareness. We also bring our concerns to the local media, and to various bodies which have the power to improve active travel and public transport. We work closely with a local primary school.

Nitrogen dioxide is produced particularly by motor traffic, it can cause asthma and heart failure but its presence is indicative of other toxic substances caused by traffic. These include deadly tiny particulates which can cause heart disease, cancers, diabetes, dementia, foetal damage, brain disease and research is continually discovering that it causes other often fatal diseases. Air pollution kills about 45,000 in the UK annually, five million worldwide. The WHO describe air pollution as a public health emergency.

Obviously air pollution shares many of its causes with those of the climate emergency. This is caused by carbon dioxide resulting largely from using fossil fuels and does not usually directly affect human health. Nitrogen dioxide kills people, carbon dioxide threatens all life on the planet.

We have set up the Burngreave Clean Air Campaign to provide regular e-mail updates and publications.

Recycled clothing

It makes no sense to keep exploiting natural resources to feed an ever-consuming market, but this remains the nature of high-street fashion. So says Elaine Rich, senior lecturer in marketing at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Resources are finite - as is the space for landfill - but too often clothes shopping is about buying cheap garments that end up being thrown away and not recycled. What can we do about it?

We Economy
The We Economy website has an article about Vigga

In 2020, online sales grew at their fastest rate since 2007 with shopping returns often ending up straight in landfill - a step in the wrong direction. There is a need to shift towards a circular economy in which waste and pollution are removed from the system.

Here are examples of clothing businesses that have been using lockdown to put this ideal into practice. New parents are constantly targeted with endless cute clothes and commodities supposedly essential to good parenting. Many parents do use sharing networks to get some of the things they need secondhand – but one designer Ryan Mario Yasin, who won the James Dyson Award in 2017 for innovative problem solving, designs clothes that grow with the child. This revolutionary concept applies engineering principles to material.

Yasin’s children’s garments, which are branded Petit Pli, stretch to fit kids aged three months to three years – offering parents a sustainable alternative to disposable clothing. More recently he has also added unisex adult clothing to his collection, marketing this new range as clothes that are built to last.

Danish company Vigga is another operator that is trying to make children’s clothing more sustainable. They offer a subscription-based rented clothing line for infants and small children. Parents who subscribe to this service receive clothing every three months in the early years as their baby grows, and less frequently thereafter. When the clothes are returned to Vigga, they are washed and repaired for further use.

Answers to flower quiz

For those of you who tried the quiz in the previous issue, the answers are

1. Dandelion
2. Violet
3. Ivy
4. Sea
5. Orchid
6. Lily
7. Periwinkle/corn cockle
8. Bugle
9. Scarlet Pimpernel
10.White rose

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