Pollutionwatch: How initiatives can improve air quality in UK schools | Pollution | Daily News Byte

Pollutionwatch: How initiatives can improve air quality in UK schools |  Pollution

 | Daily News Byte

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eyeIf your kids go to school in Boston, Massachusetts, checking their air pollution is easy. Each classroom, office and school nurse’s room has its own pollution sensor; A total of around 6,000 instruments with more than 100 on the school roof and all results are online in real time.

Over the past year, sensors have revealed problems with outdoor air pollution. In one case, carbon monoxide was measured in a classroom and was found on an electricity generator near the school’s air intake. When a fire broke out in a building near another school, sensors in the classroom were used to help staff close windows and protect children from the smoke. They have also helped prevent the use of cleaning products and room air fresheners that can produce irritating chemicals and trigger asthma symptoms.

In the UK, earlier this month the Air Pollution Bill passed its final stages in the House of Lords and began its passage through the Commons. It is not a government initiative but, like the Clean Air Acts of 1956 and 1968, is administered by individual members of parliament.

The Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill is named Ella’s Law after nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah, who died of air pollution-induced asthma. The bill would establish the right to clean air and establish a commission to monitor government actions and progress. It will also link policies on indoor and outdoor air pollution with actions to tackle the climate crisis. The bill would also require regular evidence reviews to ensure government policies are based on the latest science.

Ella’s death is part of growing evidence that Britain’s children are being harmed by air pollution. Although standards and guidance are set for air pollution in UK schools, there is no monitoring program or national survey to find out what the country’s children are breathing.

But Catherine Walsh of Boston Public Schools said: “Sensors enable us to monitor and analyze air quality in real-time so we can improve resources and make scientific, data-driven decisions to improve our school indoor environments.”

In the UK, the SAMHE project wants more than a thousand schools to sign up to host air pollution monitors.

Project Leader, Imperial College London Dr. Henry Burridge, on a mission to understand air pollution in Britain’s schools, describes: “Young people in our country spend a lot of time in schools. For the first time, we will provide an indication of the air quality in our schools. By empowering students to conduct their own air quality measurements, we will raise awareness of air quality issues in our next generation – something that is much needed.”

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