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44 out of 46 school air monitors not working

44 out of 46 school air monitors not working

Monday 11 October 2021

44 out of 46 school air monitors not working

Monday 11 October 2021


Air monitors across the island’s schools are still not working properly months on from problems first being reported, with only two out of 46 currently functioning.

The ‘real time’ units were brought to the island by UK company AirSensa in 2019 to monitor the amount of air pollution children are being exposed to and provide evidence upon which Ministers could base environmental policy decisions.

However, since then, the network of 58 monitors across the island have been beleaguered with technical issues, with no indication of when they will be fixed - in April, it was revealed nearly half of the 46 spread across schools were not working.

Responding to a written question from Constable Andy Jehan about air quality monitoring in schools, Environment Minister Deputy John Young admitted that the situation had only got worse.

“I understand this as being new technology and it is dependent on the sensors communicating correctly, analysing the data and then having a U.K. (United Kingdom) academic institute to assure the data accuracy,” Deputy Young said.

John-Young.jpg

Pictured: Environment Minister Deputy John Young said that suppliers had not been able to bring over resources to Jersey to maintain the sensors due to covid.

“These steps are totally within the control of the supplier. Unfortunately, they have not been able to bring the resources over to Jersey to attend to the essential maintenance to date following covid restrictions, so most units are experiencing communication issues.

“Therefore, of the forty-six real time air quality monitors which have been distributed to schools and educational establishments, only two were correctly transmitting data as of the end of last week. 

“These units are designed to transmit real-time data which would include drop-off and pick-up times.”

He continued: “Significant work is still required by the supplier before the data is processed and calibrated through machine learning and comparison made with existing equipment. The network across the Island now totals fifty-eight monitors. 

“Whilst I appreciate that this is disappointing, I would like to reiterate that Government has not paid for this equipment, it is owned by the supplier.”

The ‘real time’ devices were installed in 2019, as a collaboration between Environmental Health, Digital Jersey and AirSensa, to monitor the amount of air pollution children are being exposed to and provide evidence upon which Ministers could base environmental policy decisions.

Under earlier plans, as many as 200 sensors were set to be installed around the island -  earlier this year, the Minister admitted that the project hadn’t “gone to plan”, with data unavailable to the public, as the Government could not confirm its accuracy.

On Friday, Express contacted AirSensa - which has not updated the news page of their website since September 2020, and have not posted on their social media accounts since December 2020 - for comment.

A response has not yet been received.

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