Protecting the next generation – the importance of clean air in schools

June 30, 2021

Clean air isn’t necessarily a priority when managing health and safety within schools, but it should be. Although activities undertaken within school buildings cause little air contamination, polluted air can be caused by a number of things including heavy pollution in the local area, poor building ventilation, roof leakages, plumbing faults or even the materials the buildings are built from. According to Global Action Plan, the organisers of Clean AirDay, nearly 2000 schools or nurseries in the UK are located next to highly polluted roads.


Breathing in polluted air is not pleasant for anyone and it is now considered a serious public health risk, but for children specifically low air quality can cause a host of developmental problems. Contaminated air can slow down or even stop a young body’s development, leading to a lifetime of illness, particularly affecting lung function development which can worsen or in some cases cause asthma.


Needless to say, this is a tragedy for our young people, but the societal cost is also huge. Childhood illnesses have a knock-on effect for parents and guardians who have to juggle childcare and work, and consequently employers whose employees are absent whilst looking after children. Not to mention the long-term healthcare implications.


Sickness aside, children suffer in other ways when there is poor air quality in schools. Air pollution has a big impact on children’s ability to learn, with those attending schools in highly polluted areas showing signs of stunted working memory development. A study undertaken by the PhilipsFoundation and the University of Manchester has suggested that reducing air pollution levels by just 20% could improve a child’s working development memory by 6.1%. This would mean the equivalent of four weeks extra learning time per year.


This study was part of a wider Clean Air for Schools Programme which looked at how air pollution affects children and how this can be improved. The government are now being urged to encourage all schools in the UK to adopt theClean Air for Schools Framework, a free online tool that outlines actions for tackling air pollution in and around schools.


All suggested actions within the Clean Air for Schools Framework are based on existing research, academic insights and air quality testing within schools, conducted by the University of Manchester. Most significantly, research conducted at Russell Scott Primary School in Greater Manchester concluded that the use of an air purifier, even over a short period of time can reduce indoor air pollution levels in the classroom by up to 30%, a huge reduction and one that would have a significant effect on children’s working development learning.


Here at KSG Health, clean air is our commitment and it is our mission to share the benefits of Genano Technology with inhabitants of buildings throughout the UK. Genano devices

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