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All schools to get air quality monitors

All schools to get air quality monitors

Wednesday 03 July 2019

All schools to get air quality monitors


Every school in Jersey is to be fitted with real-time air quality sensors to monitor the amount of pollution children are being exposed to.

The Environment Minister, Deputy John Young, made the announcement that the monitors will be fitted before the start of the next academic term in September following a written question from Deputy Rob Ward.

Deputy Ward – who recently succeeded in getting the government to declare a ‘climate emergency’ in Jersey and commit to make the island carbon neutral by 2030 – asked the Minister to “give a specific date for when real-time air pollution monitoring will be introduced around schools in the island.”

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Pictured: Deputy Ward brought a successful proposition to declare a 'climate change emergency'.

In a response published yesterday, the Minister explained that the sensors will be installed at each school following “a site survey of each location… and it is currently not possible to give a specific installation date for each monitor or its precise location.”

He said that the installation across schools is part of a cross-departmental effort from Environment Health, Digital Jersey and AirSensa to set up “approximately 300 real-time air quality sensors being installed across the island.”

"The air quality data provided by these sensors will be accessible to all on the gov.je website, will assist in evidence-based policy decisions and will better inform Islanders of the air quality around Jersey. It is also envisaged that the data will be available to view on specialist mobile applications as the project develops," he continued.

“Officers from the Government of Jersey Environmental Health and Eco Active teams are working on an educational package for schools. This is being piloted now and will allow those schools which choose to take part to monitor air quality around their school, to better understand air quality, pollution issues, and to take part in a citizen science project.”

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Pictured: Every Jersey school will be fitted with an air sensor as part of the initiative.

At present, levels of nitrogen dioxide - a compound that can cause poisoning if inhaled at high levels - are measured in real-time at Halkett Place. Data is also gathered at 12 sites and sent off for analysis on a monthly basis.

The Environmental Health Department also currently has two 'Osiris units' Halkett Place and Howard Davis Park to provide a real-time analysis of particulate matter in the air - matter which at high levels can have negative health effects, including eye and throat irritation, coughing, shortness of breath, and even cancer in instances of prolonged exposure.

Readings at the time of writing showed levels to vary within the low to mid-moderate bands.

The Environment Department had planned to conduct a survey of air quality experienced by children on their journey into school on 12 June, but this ultimately did not go ahead due to weather conditions not being “conducive to accurate measurement."

Express has asked if this will still go ahead, and is awaiting a reply.

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