Think global, act local

By Dr Wirin Bhatiani

You may have seen headlines this week about plans to hit older polluting vehicles with a congestion charge to drive into Manchester city centre.

Regardless of whether this comes to pass, it reminds us of the major challenges we face in Greater Manchester to reduce pollution – for the good of our health and that of future generations.

It’s not only Greta Thunberg who is worried about climate change; we all know that we have a responsibility to look after our planet.

Everyone has a part to play, however small. And while some changes will take time, we can all make a difference right now.

As part of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, we have pledged to reduce carbon emissions by using greener low-emission vehicles and cutting the number of miles that staff drive in their job: by 20% by 2023/24.

With our partners in Bolton, we promote green policies such as encouraging people to use public transport or walk or cycle wherever possible.

And as a CCG, we have a key role to play in these developments, by ensuring that sustainability is embedded in our decisions around commissioning and procurement.

We are working with our staff to change behaviours and think both individually and as an organisation about how we can contribute to tackling climate change.

This includes introducing ‘carbon reduction’ training and putting climate change impact at the heart of all our decision making.

We live in a city region which is one of the most polluted in the country, which contributes to hundreds of deaths a year and chronic illnesses. Climate change may be global, but local action will play a major role in preserving the health of our environment and our people.

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