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Moderate airAlert icon There is a Moderate pollution alert in Sussex
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The Sussex coldAlert service is providing severe cold weather alerts to vulnerable people over the winter

Air Quality for Kids

What do you breathe?

* Every day we breathe about 20,000 breaths and over a month you could breathe enough air to fill a school swimming pool! (25m size pool).

Most of the air that you breathe has gases you can't see. We need clean air to keep us and plants healthy and to help us grow. But you can also breathe in bad air and dust floating in the air. The name for this air is called "polluted" air or "pollution".

What is Air Pollution

Air pollution can be added to the air from different things we do every day. Like driving cars, making toys or games in factories, ships sailing through the channel, making power for your TV, going on holiday in a plane or burning things. Pollution comes from us burning things (like in an engine or fire place) and not making sure the things coming out are cleaned up.

Chimney Stacks * Sometimes when you look up and see smoke coming out of a chimney on a cold day, it isn't always pollution, it's just water (steam) coming out of the top. Like when you blow out on a cold day and you see your breath or when a kettle boils!

We check the air for pollution in many places in Sussex to see if the air is OK to breathe. We do this by testing the air with machines called "analysers" and you can see how high pollution gets by clicking on the air pollution map here.

Pollution and you

Air Quality Air pollution can affect some people, like people with asthma. Sometimes when there is too much pollution in the air it can make people feel unwell but it can also hurt plants. During the summer we have many sunny days when we also see high (ozone) pollution. We run a service for schools and young people called airAlert.

airAlert warns you if we expect high pollution to arrive in Sussex. To join all you have to do is visit and you can start to get free alerts to your school or yourself by "text", "home telephone" or "email".

What can you do?

Cars are the biggest source of pollution in Sussex. When there is a lot of traffic in towns, especially at rush hour and the when you go to school, the pollution from cars can make it hard for some people to breathe!

* Did you know that the air in the car can be 3 times worse than outside?

As there are so many cars going to school why not:

  • Try walking with friends! Does your school have a walking bus so that you can walk to school in a group? Find out more at and
  • Try the bike Try the bike, If you have a bike, think about where you can go and how fast you’ll get there if you’re able to avoid the traffic on the roads. Cycling makes you fit and healthy too.
  • Take a bus if you can. A bus with 50 people on it takes up less space on the road than 3 cars!
  • If someone needs to drive you to school, why not give your friends a lift too or maybe get other parents to each take a turn and get fewer cars going to school!

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