Making the right choices to tackle air pollution

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 P7 pupils from St Ninians Primary School in Hamilton look over the new Clean Air For Scotland exhibit with Dr Colin Gillespie, principle air scientist with SEPA.

Understanding and reducing air pollution, and its causes, is the theme of a new interactive exhibit launched this month at the Glasgow Science Centre. It encourages school pupils and the public to consider the causes of air pollution such as traffic congestion and industrial production, and how it affects our health and the environment. The exhibit shows that it’s the choices we make that are the difference between good and polluted air quality.

The exhibit, developed by the Glasgow Science Centre and SEPA, was funded by the Scottish Government. Designed to help deliver the outcomes of the Cleaner air for Scotland (CAFS) strategy launched in November 2015, the exhibit is one of a series of activities of being rolled out to help educate and inform primary and secondary pupils on the issues around air pollution in Scotland.

We know that the air we breathe is something that we all take for granted, as we cannot actually see it. However, air is very important and essential to us, and poor air quality can make us feel unwell, affecting our health in a negative way – Primary 7 pupil from St Ninians primary school

Clean air for Scotland exhibit

It allows visitors to discover the different sources of air pollutants and how poor air quality affects our health and the environment. The exhibit also features a city model where visitors get the opportunity to control traffic, allowing them to experience how different modes of transport contribute to air pollution in our urban environments. Data from the monitoring stations dotted across Scotland, which continually monitor our air quality, is displayed in the exhibit, and visitors are encouraged to build their own virtual monitoring station too.

SEPA has been working with partners involved in delivering Cleaner Air for Scotland to raise awareness of air quality among young people, from developing the www.learnaboutair.com teaching pack to participating in this year’s VentureJam. To launch the exhibit, pupils from St Ninians primary school in Hamilton were invited along to share their experiences of studying air pollution and to try out the new exhibit.

Our own research showed that in our local area unnecessary short car journeys is something we could stop! In school we have been encouraging families and friends to walk, cycle or even skateboard to school – stopping the school runs which are not needed is our priority – Primary 7 pupil from St Ninians primary school

  • Colin Gillespie, Principle Air Quality Scientist at SEPA: “The exhibition highlights ways in which we can individually help to improve quality of life both for ourselves and our wider communities; it also shows the wider influences that planning and transport policies can have on the quality of the air we breathe.

    “The new exhibit is the start of a larger educational package being developed by the Glasgow Science Centre on air quality and will provide inspiration for younger people, amongst others, to tackle air pollution and understand its effects on our own health, communities and the wider environment.”

  • Stephen Breslin, Chief Executive, Glasgow Science Centre: “Our team of scientists and designers worked closely with SEPA to develop the exhibit and help bring the value of good air quality, and the causes and harms of air pollution, to life in an engaging and interactive way. We are excited for our visitors to get hands on and discover more about the role they can play in improving air quality.”

You can visit the exhibition the second floor at the Glasgow Science Centre, 50 Pacific Quay, Glasgow, G51 1EA.

For further information on the Scottish Government strategy for reducing air pollution in Scotland, see the Cleaner Air for Scotland strategy on their website.

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