EarthSense Air Quality Monitors to Educate School Children About Pollution Sources in Scotland

EarthSense, the air quality specialist, is working with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) which is using Zephyr® air pollution monitors to educate primary and secondary school children about air quality.


school classroom

The Scottish environmental regulators have developed a teaching package which can be offered to primary and secondary schools in Scotland for children to learn more about air pollution and its associated risks.


As part of the programme, four Zephyr® monitors have previously been deployed at schools (nursery, primary and secondary) in Balfron, and three monitors are currently deployed at schools in Forfar, Arbroath and Montrose. The solar-powered air quality monitors have been installed around the vicinity of the schools, inside school grounds and on access routes to school entrances.


By collecting real-time air pollution measurements which focus on nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and using the EarthSense MyAir® web app to analyse the air quality data, SEPA encourages school children to identify sources contributing to elevated levels of air pollution. Measurements are presented to pupils in an easy-to-understand format to allow them to identify the activities which generated local spikes in air pollution and what some of the solutions may be.


EarthSense’s flagship product, the Zephyr®, is a compact monitoring tool which takes real-time samples of local ambient air quality levels. Offered on a subscription basis, the complete service also offers supplementary MappAir® modelling data to provide pollution levels at locations without air quality monitors. Air quality measurements and modelling are viewed, analysed and downloaded through access to the intuitive MyAir® web-based application.


EarthSense Managing Director, Thomas Hall said: “SEPA’s programme for schools to teach children about air quality is extremely valuable. By learning about the dangers of air pollution, pupils will be encouraged to make decisions which benefit the state of the air, like choosing to walk or cycle to school.


“Since the launch of the project, school children in Scotland have used our monitors to identify a range of pollution sources, including idling buses picking pupils up from school, a prom night which had increased levels of transport creating tailpipe emissions, and smokers standing outside the school grounds.”


Air quality data produced by the programme also contributed to the European Environment Agency CleanAir@Schools initiative, which brought together Environment Protection Agencies from across Europe to work with school children and local citizens to drive sustainable decisions through shared data and best practices. Zephyr® data was also used as part of a European Environment Agency report discussing low-cost air quality sensors.


Dr Colin Gillespie, SEPA’s Principal Air Scientist said: “Our experience has shown that providing school children with real-time air pollution data is a fantastic way to enhance our teaching material. It provides the children with the tools necessary to investigate pollution sources around their schools, encouraging direct action to improve air quality. This has ranged from anti-smoking campaigns outside the school gates, to promoting active travel to and from school.”

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