Pupils at inner city schools to take part in major air pollution programme

Inner-city Greater Manchester schools will be kitted out with air purifiers, as part of a major new programme aimed to tackle air pollution in disadvantaged communities.

According to The Philips Foundation and Global Action Plan (GAP), who are behind the programme, it will be the largest of its kind to be launched in the UK, with 20 participating schools and 6000 students to be included in the 10-month study.

The programme looks to support schools to improve air quality as well as understand for the first time the impact of air pollution in schools by studying the varying levels of air quality in classrooms and how this affects school children.

Through tailor-made teaching resources for schools that support the national curriculum and the installation of air purifiers in classes, the Philips Foundation and GAP will work with Manchester University as part of a research project to monitor the changes in air quality from purification and education.

The University of Manchester will provide air monitoring equipment and analysis to help independently understand the state of air pollution in schools, analysing the levels of pollutants in including PM 2.5, PM 10, CO2, NOx and Ozone.

The team will track for any improvements that arise from behaviour change amongst the children, teachers and parents following the use of educational activities about reducing air pollution.

The programme will also investigate how changes in air quality affects children’s health and academic performance.

Jasmine Darby and Alice Brennan are part of a Junior PCSOs team at Russell Scott Primary School in Manchester.

Dr Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility at leading research partner The University of Manchester said: ‘We’re proud today to be launching the “Clean Air for Schools” programme here in Greater Manchester.

‘Drawing on research through our new air quality supersite and Manchester Urban Observatory, we’re excited to be a part of a truly cross-sector collaboration that brings together the skillsets of the private sector, charity, local public sector and our University right here in our city.

‘The programme will add to the growing body of research into air quality and its impacts on communities – and through this collaboration we will be able to make a practical difference to what schools and communities across the UK can do to tackle air quality.’

Earlier this year, scientists from King’s College University monitored the air quality exposure of 250 children in London as they made their way to school and in the classroom.

250 children were given state-of-the-art toxic air monitoring backpacks to 250 children who wore them for a week to help scientists monitor and better understand the levels of toxic air young Londoners are exposed to during the school day.