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Parents in Europe fight for their children to have clean air

In March 2018, a group of Belgian parents made a few steps for their kids to have the possibility to respire clean air. Instead of going for coffee on a Friday morning, they closed the road outside their children’s school. They named their movement Filter-Café-Filtre.

Over the next two weeks, another 42 schools joined in. Now parents and teachers in 21 cities meet each Friday morning. With hazard tape from DIY shops, banners and musical instruments, they close the roads around about 76 schools. Children play in the street and the parents drink coffee together to demand traffic-free zones, better walking and cycling routes and public transport so children do not have to be driven to school.

A survey by Sustrans found that nearly two-thirds of UK teachers wanted roads closed around their schools.

From Italy and then Scotland, so-called School Streets are spreading fast. More than 20 UK schools now have traffic-free zones at drop-off and pickup times in order to reduce road accidents, reduce air pollution exposure and encourage walking and cycling to school.