Clean Air Day in Bradford

10 July 2019 - Published by Marie Chloe Tarp
Air pollution is an important challenge in SCORE and the ambition is to raise the general awareness about the topic. Engaging the young generation is an obvious way to do this, and this was exactly the purpose of the Clean Air Day in Bradford.

Raising awareness is one part of the Bradford Air Quality Plan. This will outline the case for change and include an evidence base that the Council has developed in assessing air quality and associated health impacts such as respiratory problems, heart attacks and strokes, low birth weight babies and premature deaths.

Drawing on the experiences of Swedish SCORE partners City of Gothenburg and Johanneburg Science Park in delivering an air quality workshop at the International Science Festival 2019, the University of Bradford and Bradford Council in collaboration with Well Bradford ran a workshop for Year 6 pupils at Shipley Church of England School.

"It’s a fantastic opportunity for the class to be involved in such an important project and see that science can have a real impact on their lives." 

Rosie Eccles, Assistant Head teacher at Shipley Church of England School, said, and continued:

"Being able to build the sensors themselves means they can feel involved and part of this project and it will be fascinating to see how we can use this project and the data to help teach the whole school about air quality."

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Building air quality monitors

Clean air day UK coordinated by Global Action Plan on 20th June aimed to raise awareness of the dangers of air pollution and show people what they can do about it. The workshop gave the children the opportunity to build air quality monitors which connected via LoRaWAN to the internet. These devices measured PM2.5 and PM10 particulate matter which can affect people’s health if levels are too high. 

"This is a great project for the kids to be involved in. It’s a real life science project that will teach them valuable knowledge in a practical and engaging way. It’s not often we can offer a project where, by the end of the day, we will be able to get these children delivering results which, over time, may help Bradford Council monitor the air quality around the school."

Dr Dhaval Thakker, Senior lecturer in Computer Science at Bradford University, leading the workshop at the school said.

"That best practice can then be shared amongst the SCORE partner cities – and it will be partly down to the work the children will have done."

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To monitor air quality readings (PM2.5 and PM10), PM sensor SDS011 has been used. The SDS011 sensor uses the principle of laser scattering which can get the particle concentration between 0.3 to 10μm in the air. The sensor analyses the number and diameter of particles using the waveform that has certain relations with the particles diameter. This sensor with digital output and built-in fan is stable and reliable for monitoring the PM levels. Explorer LoRa circuit is used to transmit the reading from the PM sensor to the remote device connected with Wifi.

The Bradford Air Quality Plan

Bradford Council used Clean Air Day to launch an extensive stakeholder engagement to inform the development of the Plan. On this basis Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Portfolio Holder for Healthy People and Places said:

"Investing now to improve air quality in Bradford will not only help to reduce environmental risks but will also aim to sustain a growing green economy which, nationally, is one of the fastest growing sectors. By developing the Bradford Air Quality Plan we want to improve health across the district and with minimum economic impact."

SCORE will be looking at ways to coordinate citizen/community based projects to enable sharing of their observations and maximise the data they collect.