Clean Air statement: Association of Anaesthetists supports the UK’s first National Clean Air Day 2017

Through our environmental policy and environmental task force, the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland (AAGBI) recognises that our actions have an impact on the environment around us and that this can affect people’s health and wellbeing – now and in the future. That’s why we are supporting the UK’s first-ever National Clean Air Day (NCAD) on 15 June 2017.   Anaesthetists see the impact of air pollution on patients today – but are also thinking about how anaesthetic gases may impact on future generations by contributing to climate change.

It has been calculated that the worldwide annual environmental impact of inhalational anaesthetic agents is equivalent to the climate warming effects produced by one coal-fired power station or 1 million passenger cars, at 4.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. We are, therefore, committed to exploring the use of inhalational anaesthetic agents which are less polluting, wherever it is safe to do so, and to encouraging clinical practice which produces less waste.

The AAGBI backs National Clean Air Day because it presents an opportunity for the UK to come together and improve air quality through collective action. To mark the day the AAGBI is calling on its 11,000 members, as clinicians and as citizens, to take action and find out what their local NHS trusts are doing to support National Clean Air Day.  Our own environmental task force, who lead the specialty on environmental matters and green anaesthesia, will also be looking to make a difference this National Clean Air Day.

On National Clean Air Day, Dr Samantha Shinde, Lead for the AAGBI’s environmental task group, will be leaving her car behind and will walk to work. As a Consultant Anaesthetist at North Bristol NHS Trust, she will reduce her impact on the environment by using low–flow anaesthesia, regional or intravenous anaesthesia, all of which reduce pollution. Her Trust will also be supporting National Clean Air Day by:

  • Launching a ‘switch off when you drop off’ campaign aimed at taxis, buses and ambulances, and visitors.
  • Promoting their 12 electric, folding and standard bikes, which staff can borrow to try out for commuting and then purchase on the cycle to work scheme.
  • Making an extra effort to encourage smokers outside the building (in the no-smoking area), to extinguish their cigarettes.
  • Hosting stalls in the atrium of the hospital to raise awareness of different clean air and the health co-benefits of more sustainable living.


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