Donegal schools celebrating Clean Air Week
The second annual celebration of Clean Air Week has been organised by the Green-Schools Travel programme.
The event begins tomorrow (Monday), Clean Air Week is focused on raising awareness of, and taking action on, air pollution in and around the school gate.
In a year when vehicle traffic in towns and cities was reduced due to Covid 19, many people got the chance to experience how their communities could benefit from improved air quality.
This week Green-Schools will be asking schools to learn about how car journeys impact air quality and how air quality at the school gate can be improved when more students and teachers walk or cycle to school.
A survey conducted by the GLOBE programme in partnership with Green-Schools Travel found that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels were higher for schools situated in major towns and cities when compared to schools located in rural areas. The main source of NO2 in Ireland is from road transport, and journeys to school by car are contributing to poor air quality.
For Clean Air Week 2020, Green-Schools commissioned spoken word artist Sasha Terfous to celebrate the work of students and schools and to inspire entries to the inaugural Clean Air Week Poetry Competition. Sasha’s work, My Promise is now available on the Green-Schools website and social media channels to motivate students around Ireland as they contemplate how air quality impacts their lives and its greater environmental implications.
Jane Hackett, Manager of the Green-Schools Travel programme said: “Clean air is a human right however it is not something many children in Ireland experience on their journeys to and from school. Clean Air Week was borne of our desire to draw attention to the high levels of air polluting gas NO2 around schools.
“We now know that one in five Irish children experience asthma at some stage in their lives, and this is directly linked to poor air quality. During Clean Air Week, we are calling on schools around Ireland to investigate the quality of air outside their schools and to help improve their student’s health by promoting sustainable journeys to school, no idling zones and safer, healthier school gates that are free from cars.”
Schools and other interested parties can find the Green-Schools No Idling Toolkit and an Air Quality resource on the Green-Schools website.
During Clean Air Week Green-Schools are asking students to make a pledge to #BeatAirPollution in order to create a healthy environment around the school gate and to improve wellbeing by travelling to school actively.
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