Smart-H Youth Outreach Projects
At Smart-H we know that future generations will be massively impacted by the policies and changes we are making today. It is vital that we educate young people about Air Quality and that even small changes can make a noticeable difference. Young people have fantastic problem solving skills and are great at devising solutions if given the chance. Change costs nothing but willpower and we need to give young people the chance to make a difference in their own communities and help shape their future world.
Smart-H is excited to be working with local councils, school boards and parents to reduce emissions in school zones. We offer several projects that can make huge impacts to the daily air quality of our children both in the classrooms and in the school play grounds.
Smart-H also offers in-school Environmental Impact education days where one of our lead scientists will complete an assembly, provide interactive projects and assist with crowd-funded Eco-improvements. This is available for whole year groups (year 7-13) or for smaller groups such as environmental clubs or Biology A-level groups. Our team has prior secondary school teaching experience and these programs can be tailored to your schools specific needs.
New data from the Breathe London air quality monitoring project revealed that almost 40% of the nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution at schools comes from road transport, with diesel cars being the single biggest local contributor. Poor air quality stunts the growth of children’s lungs and worsens chronic illness such as asthma, lung and heart disease. TfL data from 2018 showed the school run made up a quarter of weekday morning traffic, with the average school journey being less than one kilometre, around a 10-minute walk.
Worldwide, as many as 600,000 children are thought to have died in a single year because of poor air quality. “Polluted air is poisoning millions of children and ruining their lives.
This is inexcusable. Every child should be able to breathe clean air so they can grow and fulfil their full potential,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, wrote in a report in 2018. Analyzing data from 2016, the report also concluded that around 93% of children younger than 15 routinely breathe “air that is so polluted it puts their health and development at serious risk”. The UK Government has been in breach of the limits set in the EU air quality directive since its implementation in 2010.
Air Pollution Related Health Issues
“Breathing polluted air can affect your physical wellbeing at every stage of life, from the womb to old age, and can lead to a lifetime of symptoms of ill health in some people. Yet, most people are unaware of the full effects of polluted air on their health and that of their family.” – King College London Report
Many towns and cities across the UK have unsafe and illegal levels of air pollution – often from traffic fumes. Air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year with WHO data showing that 9 out of 10 people breathe air that exceeds WHO guideline limits containing high levels of pollutants. The pollutants with the strongest evidence of health effects are particulate matter (PM), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2).
Adverse health consequences to air pollution can occur as a result of short- or long-term exposure. Particulate matter poses a serious health risk because it can travel into the respiratory tract. PM2.5 is especially dangerous because it can penetrate deep into the lungs and sometimes even into the bloodstream.
This type of air pollution from emissions is linked to a wide range of health problems, including: lung disease, decreased lung function, chronic bronchitis, heartbeat irregularities, heart attacks, asthma and premature death. These pollutants disproportionally impact certain groups, especially children, people with heart and lung conditions, older adults, and pregnant women.
In highly-populated urban areas, road transport is often a major local source of ambient air pollution, in particular contributing significantly to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations. In the UK, almost a third of total NOx was generated by road vehicles, with 23% from cars and light duty vehicles (LDVs). - Wakeling et al., 2016