Glasgow scheme tackles air pollution around schools

Eight schools in Glasgow have been kitted out with air quality monitors to educate children and parents about air pollution.

The project is part of a ‘Beat the Street’ initiative that was granted £50,000 from a new £1m fund to increase walking, cycling and sustainable travel in Scotland.

The Environmental Health department of East Renfrewshire Council supplied and installed the three AQMesh air quality monitoring pods that were used for the project, with children designing their own air quality banners as part of a competition.

The banners were then placed outside the schools which were then monitored for two weeks with an AQMesh pod measuring a variety of parameters including NO2.

The council’s Richard Mowat said: ‘We used one of our own AQMesh pods and rented the other two from Air Monitors. The pods are small and easy to install so we were able to locate them close to the areas most affected by parents’ vehicles.

‘The results clearly showed significant peaks in pollution during the drop-off periods and it was pleasing to note how well the project was received. We hope that this work will help educate the children and that they, in turn, will encourage their parents to leave the cars at home and walk whenever possible.’

Anne-Marie Absolom, head teacher at St Clares Primary School said: ‘Our Junior Road Safety Officers, and all of the school staff, are delighted that we have had the opportunity to install temporary air quality monitors in our car park.

‘We have been campaigning throughout the year to improve air quality in and around our school. The children have also been learning about the small changes that they can make – changes that will make a big difference to the quality of the air we breathe.

Earlier this year, Glasgow City Council announced they will trial car-free zones outside schools in a bid to improve air quality for the city’s children.

Under the scheme, seven primary schools across Glasgow will become temporary pedestrian areas in the morning and afternoon following complaints by parents that poor driving and parking, traffic congestion and harmful vehicle emissions are affecting safety outside the city’s schools.