Pupils put pressure on parents for cleaner air

Bearsden Academy S2 and S3 pupils have been monitoring high levels of pollution.
Bearsden Academy S2 and S3 pupils have been monitoring high levels of pollution.

Bearsden Academy pupils have been putting pressure on their parents not to drive to school by measuring levels of air pollution.

The shocking results reveal that the air is so polluted around the school that if it continues at that level over a year it would break EU and UK quality standards.

East Dunbartonshire Council has been working with a team of Litter Buster volunteers from the school to improve the air quality, as Bearsden has been an Air Quality Management Area since 2011.

Vehicle engine idling was identified as a particular problem at pick up and drop off times, so council officers enlisted the help of the school’s Litter Buster Team to encourage parents to switch off their engine while they are waiting.

The project was supported by Ricardo AEA, which designed the school teaching package on behalf of the Government.

Pupils were provided with NO2 monitoring tubes, to sample the air at the school and in their gardens at home, to draw comparisons.

Rhondda Geekie, council leader, said: “The quality of the air we breathe directly affects our general health and wellbeing and can even have a bearing on how long we live.

“We need to get the message across and raise awareness of the impact of poor air quality on health and the negative impact of local traffic pollution and exhaust fumes.

“We all know how effective ‘pester power’ can be and the pupils have been using their new-found knowledge to educate their parents about the perils of engine idling.”

Emily Bell of S2 said: “This has been a brilliant way to learn about air quality levels around the school. Hopefully pollution levels will drop and the air at the school will be safer.”