Most schools and childcare centers in urban areas are near major roads and sometimes close to industrial pollution sources.
While not always visible, the air in and around schools contains pollutants that can be damaging to children. Here we cover:
- Air pollution and the health impacts on children
- Why monitor air pollution at schools
- Air monitoring as an opportunity to educate
- Air pollution monitoring tools for schools
AIR POLLUTION AND CHILDREN'S HEALTH
UNICEF and WHO cite research that shows young lungs are particularly susceptible to air pollution; exposure in childhood can lead to permanent respiratory health issues such as asthma and lung cancer.
As a result, organizations such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the British Lung Foundation have issued guidance to schools in an effort to raise awareness of the risks and to recommend ways to manage the problem.
WHY MONITOR AIR POLLUTION AT SCHOOLS?
As awareness of air pollution and its effects, particularly on children, grows, so too does the pressure on schools to come up with an effective and co-ordinated response. The first and most logical place to start is measurement through effective community air quality monitoring projects. Reliable measurement is necessary to understand the risk of exposure in and around the school environent and the effectiveness of any mitigation strategies.
Schools may choose to get air quality information from government-operated monitoring stations. However, these stations can be many miles away, unrepresentative of local pollution sources and micro-climate effects, and often do not report minute by minute changes in air pollution or provide immediate alerts if pollution levels suddenly rise. Therefore, relying on government-produced air quality information may result in one of two things:
- It understates the problem for the school, or
- It overstates the problem for the school.
Forward-thinking schools see air pollution monitoring at the point of exposure (POE) as an opportunity to educate and protect the young lives they are responsible for.
OPPORTUNITY TO EDUCATE
STEM subjects and environmental awareness
Equipment used to measure air quality is by nature scientific. Providing children with the opportunity to understand air pollution by using equipment in the field gets them hands on with scientific tools. It also combines a couple of things most schools want to see more of in their curriculum: STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and environmental stewardship.
Teaching children about air pollution helps them to realise that the environment is central to life on earth. The air is a resource that we all share and must be taken care of. What we do here can affect the lives of people over there. These concepts encourage a sense of global citizenship and hopefully empower children to accept that responsibility.
See how this U.S. school is using Aeroqual monitors to educate:
AIR POLLUTION TOOLS
Real-time air pollution monitors
To get started you need an air pollution monitor that can measure and report real-time changes in pollution levels – reliably and accurately.
Real-time air pollution monitors can be fixed or portable (handheld).
Portable monitors are a great tool for education as they’re super easy for students to use and they report big numbers on a LCD screen. You can use them to check pollution hot spots, such as school drop-offs.
Fixed monitors measure the air continuously, which allows you to identify times when air pollution is high, or within safe levels. That way you can manage when your students are outdoors and measure the impact of school/local mitigation initiatives.
We also have indoor and outdoor air quality testing kits, which feature the portable monitor. These are a great way to educate students about different types of air pollutants, such as ozone, particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, and how they impact people and the environment.
If you’re not sure which air monitor would be best for you, please tell us about your school and it’s requirements and we’ll guide you to the right product.
Most popular devices for measuring air pollution at schools
HOW CAN WE HELP?
Aeroqual’s air pollution monitors are built on a solid scientific foundation and every monitor is rigorously calibrated at Aeroqual’s laboratory using scientific grade calibration equipment. The monitors are used by experts in the field, such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency and have been used everywhere from the Gobi Desert to Antarctica. Yet they have also been designed for ease of use and are therefore equally popular with schools and community groups.
Here are just some of the schools who use our equipment:
- St Gerald’s School (Omaha)
- Laurel Hall School (Los Angeles)
- Cognita Schools (London)
- United Nations International School (Hanoi)
- English Schools Foundation (Hong Kong)
- Concordia International School (Hanoi)
St. John Vuetilovoni
St. John helps schools measure air quality for science, education and safety. With two children currently at school and a keen interest in the environment, he enjoys directly supporting Aeroqual’s diverse international customers to provide the right tools to help them understand the air they breathe.