Young Scots tackle pollution issues with creative ideas


Air Time event

We handed control over to the young people of Scotland to get their ideas about how to tackle the growing problem of air pollution at a recent Glasgow Science Centre event.

A host of young Scots aged 14 – 20 came up with creative new ways to tackle the growing problem of air pollution at Air Time with VentureJam, a hands-on event at the Glasgow Science Centre on Saturday 18 June 2016.

AirTime with VentureJam was delivered by Young Scot, Glasgow City of Science and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) as part of the Glasgow Science Festival. The young people took part in activities, science experiments and learning around the harmful effects of air pollution; how it affects health and the environment in Scotland’s urban areas, especially in large cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Air Time gave participants some fast-track learning on the issue of air pollution before giving them the opportunity to come up with ideas to tackle the problem and present them back to a panel of experts. The event was a taster for VentureJam 2016, an innovative three-day workshop (5-7 August) for young people across Scotland to co-design and co-develop innovative new ideas to improve the air we breathe.

Dr Colin Gillespie, Principal Air Scientist at SEPA said: “Involving young people and allowing them to lead on the message they feel should be delivered, or what the solutions could be, is a very effective way to raise awareness of the problem of poor air quality, which unfortunately seems to have been in the news all too often in recent months. Poor air quality contributes to thousands of premature deaths across the UK every year, as well as the impact it has on our environment.Sources of air pollution

“There is a real and on-going effort to improve air quality across Scotland’s cities. The Scottish Government’s Cleaner Air for Scotland Strategy (CAfS) sets out an ambitious vision where Scotland’s air quality will be the best in Europe. As the young people who took part in Air Time have learned, every single person in Scotland can play their part in achieving this goal by making small but achievable changes to their lifestyles.”

Our partners were also impressed with the participants’ ideas and solutions.

Dr Susie Mitchell, programme director of Glasgow City of Science, commented: “Air Time was a great success – it really got the young people thinking about this important issue, the impact it has, and the part they can all play in addressing the problem.

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, added: “Making the country a cleaner and greener place is important to many young people and this was plain to see in level of passion displayed by the participants at Air Time. We were pleased to see so many fantastic ideas on show.  If we want to tackle the big issues of our time it’s vital we tap into the creativity and insight of young people.”

Air Time with VentureJam and VentureJam 2016 are supported by Scottish Government, SEPA, Glasgow City Council, Developing the Young Workforce Glasgow, Scotland’s Environment Web, Murgitroyd, Perceptive Communicators and Glasgow Science Centre.

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