Oxford city council has produced an educational toolkit for primary and secondary schools in Oxford to teach children about the causes and impact of air pollution.
The air quality toolkit provides science teachers with a range of interactive activities, based both in the classroom and outdoors, for pupils and students, the city council says.
Among the exercises contained within the kit are lessons about about lichen on trees; activities including surveying the number of idling cars at the school gates; and learning about the Peppered Moth, which evolved to change colour due to air pollution during the Industrial Revolution.
The city council’s air quality monitoring officer will also be available to provide further information to schools and to lead assemblies.
The toolkit, which has been written to fit within schools’ existing science curriculums, has been sent to all Oxford primary and secondary schools from today (20 February) and is already available on the city council’s website.
According to the city council, the aim of the project is to increase awareness of poor air pollution around schools, and to begin sustained work in partnership with schools to find ways of improving the situation. The toolkit is part of the city council’s Schools Tackling Oxford’s Air Pollution (STOP) project.
Councillor John Tanner, Executive Board Member for a Clean and Green Oxford, said: “We want Oxford’s children to understand the threat from pollution and help to create a future with clean air for everyone.
“Air pollution is invisible, but it can have a very damaging impact on the health of Oxford residents, particularly the young and most vulnerable. I hope this project helps raise awareness for this public health emergency.
“Every diesel and petrol vehicle driven into the centre of Oxford is contributing to the problem; everyone can do their bit to tackle Oxford’s toxic air pollution.â€?
The council has also unveiled plans to introduce a zero emission zone in the city, which would see diesel and petrol vehicles banned from Oxford city centre in phases, starting with some vehicle types and a small number of streets in 2020, potentially moving to all vehicle types across the whole city centre in 2035.
Oxford city council air quality toolkit