When discussing pollution and clean air, we tend to think about the outdoors.
It’s a sobering image: car-clogged city streets, degraded landscapes, and fume-pumping highways and heavy industry bringing poor air quality to neighbouring villages and valleys.
The fact is, however, that many of us spend 90% of our time indoors. This makes clean air inside buildings of paramount importance.
It seems an obvious point to make; but the fact is that much of our built environment consists of poorly ventilated, polluted buildings.
Clean Air in Schools and Colleges
Nowhere is this issue more important than in educational establishments, where young people (not to mention the teaching and support staff) can spend upwards of 30 hours a week. If air quality is an issue in these spaces, the consequences can follow those children throughout their lives in the shape of poor health.
“The World Health Organisation also says 3.8 million premature deaths annually from diseases such as strokes, ischaemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer are attributed to exposure to household air pollution. There is also evidence of links between indoor air pollution and low birth weight, tuberculosis, cataract, nasopharyngeal and laryngeal cancers.” The Importance of Clean Air in Education (Envirotec, 2017)
British engineering company Envirotec has produced an online guide, The Importance of Clean Air in Education, with the specific aim of bringing the issue of air quality to the attention of the educational establishment.
As a charity concerned with the health of children, The Mother and Child Foundation supports the release of this guide, and the science that underlies it. Healthy mothers give us all the best start in life, and we owe it to our children to provide them with clean environments as they proceed on their journey to adulthood.
The Importance of Clean Air in Education concludes:
“Clean air is very important for planet earth and humans alike, yet it is only really in the last quarter century that we have actively begun to seek ways of improving the quality of the air we breathe. The health effects of air pollution are well documented – at least 3 million people die per year from breathing in harmful toxins, so poor quality air in any form will have adverse effects on well-being and life.
“Even in small doses, such as those seen in poorly ventilated offices and classrooms, unclean air will affect your daily performance as well as do your body harm. Damage can be irreversibly done to both respiratory system and future career should young children not be able to study in an environment that is fit for needs. That is why clean air is so important, especially to those in education.”
Yes, there is a sales pitch in the efforts of Envirotec to get this information across. But it is a sales pitch based on a genuine need, and this guide is essential reading for the educational sector and beyond, as an introduction to a very important subject that concerns us all.