As awareness of air pollution and its effects, particularly on children, grows, so too does the pressure on schools to come up with an effective and co-ordinated response. The first and most logical place to start is measurement. Reliable measurement is necessary to understand the risk of exposure in and around the school environent and the effectiveness of any mitigation strategies.
Schools may choose to get air quality information from government-operated monitoring stations. However, these stations can be many miles away, unrepresentative of local pollution sources and micro-climate effects, and often do not report minute by minute changes in air pollution or provide immediate alerts if pollution levels suddenly rise. Therefore, relying on government-produced air quality information may result in one of two things:
- It understates the problem for the school, or
- It overstates the problem for the school.
Forward-thinking schools see air pollution monitoring at the point of exposure (POE) as an opportunity to educate and protect the young lives they are responsible for.