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Clean Air Day: Activists mark Clean Air Day with ringroad protest

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An activist outside Sheffield station on Clean Air Day.

Extinction Rebellion have marked Clean Air Day with a protest against polluted air in Sheffield.

Around 40 activists wore surgical masks and handed out leaflets on the ring road in front of the station.

"We're here on Clean Air Day to raise awareness of the toxic air in our city," Sophie from Extinction Rebellion told Now Then.

"We're outside the train station where illegal levels of pollution have been monitored."

The activists were joined by Liberal Democrat MEP Shaffaq Mohammed, who handed leaflets to drivers at the crossing. The demonstration was also attended by a group from the Heeley Labour Party.

As part of Clean Air Day, Sheffield City Council closed roads outside two primary schools as a one-off. We asked Sophie what more the Council could do to combat climate breakdown.

We're encouraging taxis waiting at the station to turn off their engines

"We'd really like to see the Council working with central government where they can and investing in public transport so that people aren't forced to take their cars everywhere," she said.

"We need clean, affordable buses so that people can easily hop on a bus and get to work, and that be the cheapest and most convenient option."

Despite shows of support from drivers, some reacted aggressively. One revved his engine at the crossing, engulfing activists in a cloud of black smoke.

"We're encouraging taxis waiting at the station to turn off their engines," said Sophie, when we asked what individuals could do about air quality. "If people could leave the car at home one journey a week that would make a huge difference.

"It's just thinking about those choices that we make every day," she continued. "Small actions can make a big difference."

Sam Gregory

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