Words by Smiley Team
Musicians, community groups, athletes and activists from south London have joined forces to host a free-one day event to campaign against localised air pollution.
‘Live + Breathe 2022’ takes place on Saturday 18 June at the Southwark Park – from 12-6pm – and will be hosted by musician and activist Love Ssega.
The event aims to raise awareness that Black, Asian, and other ethnicities are excessively affected by air pollution and are passionate about campaigning against climate issues. "Not only that," says host Love Ssega, "the communities and groups involved here have come together to use art and culture to highlight an issue such as air pollution, which is shown to affect people of colour the most.
"People in the two areas would rather be doing sport, meeting friends, or training to be future Olympians, but if the air pollution levels are too high, then they are going to come together and make noise about it until the government acts to change it.”
Research by the British Lung Foundation estimates that 36,000 people die each year due to air pollution in the UK. The long-term effects of living with air pollution can cause damage to organs and lead to asthma, COPD and other long term health conditions.
Air pollution in London is constantly higher than the World Health Organisation’s recommended limits and Lambeth and Southwark have some of the worst levels in the city.
Live + Breathe 2022 will offer local residents the opportunity to get involved in free arts and culture workshops, take part in a football tournament, and listen to poetry by local writers fuelled by their campaign for clean air.
The groups involved include Peckham BMX Club, Poetic Unity, Peace Ballers, Neon Elevate, Art 4 Space, and CeCeRollerskates. There will also be performances by ITV’s ‘Peckham’s Finest’ star DJ Mark Ashley-Dupé, Born N Bread, Rebel Clash and Shumba Youth.
Peace Ballers is a social enterprise that creates peace in local communities by developing good identities in young men through football and entrepreneurship. During the event, they'll be holding a football tournament. Zion Zachary, director at Peace Ballers said: “Having been made more aware of the issue of air pollution in our borough and being an enterprise that primarily holds its activities outdoors, we felt it important to support the campaign.
"Most of our members are unaware of these issues so the event will be an opportunity to educate them further, so they see the significance of such an issue and how it affects them.”
Love Ssega is also performing at Billie Ellish’s UK tour ‘Happier Than Before’ on 16th June at the London O2 Arena as part of climate seminar ‘Overheated’.
TAKE ACTION: You can attend the Live and Breathe event to help raise awareness of air pollution.
SUPPORT: See how the British Lung Foundation is on a mission to get clean air access for all.