Newcastle City Council, in collaboration with Newcastle University, have installed air pollution sensors outside 22 schools that are within a short distance of major roads. These sensors will monitor levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter in the air in order to give an accurate picture of pollution levels close to schools.
The data will be collected through the University’s Urban Observatory, and will allow for researchers to engage the children who are affected directly, giving them a voice to how their cities should be planned in the future. The Urban Observatory is the largest urban experiment collecting data in the UK with approximately 60 different urban indicators ranging from energy use to air pollution and traffic flow. The experiment makes up to 5000 new observations every minute from over 3600 sensors.
In Europe alone there are 790,000 excess deaths caused by ambient air pollution.
Air pollution at high levels presents a significant health risk, even more so to children who are more vulnerable to air pollution and diseases relating to it. Air pollution constitutes particulate matter, a mixture of compounds in solid or liquid phase in the air. The danger of air pollution is accentuated by a recent study which claims that in Europe alone there are 790,000 excess deaths caused by ambient air pollution. In order to match both Europe and UK government targets it is necessary for the UK to reduce emissions, for this it is a major requirement to detect air pollution.
Air pollution causes a variety of issues such as stunted growth, respiratory conditions and is a potential cause of cancer.
The risk of air pollution to children is far higher for a variety of reasons. Children are closer to the ground the area where most vehicle pollution gathers, children also breathe at a faster rate than adults heightening their exposure. Air pollution causes a variety of issues such as stunted growth, respiratory conditions and is a potential cause of cancer.
The director of public health at Newcastle City Council Eugene Milne has said that the project will raise awareness amongst those at risk. He has also encouraged people to consult on the council’s final proposals for tackling air pollution, particularly the views of young people.
If you wish to take part in the consultation you can do so at www.breath-cleanair.com.
Last modified: 12th December 2019