Pupils at a school in Argyll and Bute have established that they are at ‘low risk’ from suffering the effects of air pollution.
Lomond School children, aged eight to nine, used diffusion tubes to tested nitrogen dioxide levels on the Helensburgh campus. The project was undertaken as part of UNICEF’s OutRight campaign, intended to highlight children’s rights.
Pupils carried out their analysis having learned that a third of British children face unsafe levels of air pollution. Their results showed the school’s nitrogen dioxide levels to be in the lowest 25% of the 1,000 participating schools and youth clubs. After submitting their work, the school was visited by two members of UNICEF staff.
Pupils remain focused on enforcing change within the local community
“The visit from UNICEF has equipped [pupils] with campaigning skills and encouraged them to continue efforts to inspire their friends, families and people in the local community to focus on their own environmental impact,” said teacher Joe Grafton.
“While the results of the air pollution tests were low, the pupils remain focused on enforcing change within the local community in a bid to further reduce pollution in Helensburgh and beyond.”
To that end, students made a list of further steps that could be taken, including walking rather than driving, creating more green spaces, and pedestrian-only zones near local schools.
Pupils also took over classes for a day, to teach their peers about the child’s right to a safe and healthy environment, and sent details of their tests and proposals to Roseanna Cunningham, the Scottish Parliament’s cabinet secretary for environment, climate change and land reform.
“Undertaking this project was a fantastic experience for the pupils,” added Grafton.
“They’ve gone on to learn really important lessons about the environment and the impact they have on it, as well as their own rights and the rights of other children.”