Tuesday, 1 April, 2014
To raise awareness of the children and parents from Dog Hill Kennel Hill Primary School to air pollution issues and their own exposure during the journey to and from school.
- One family that used the main road to walk to and from school
- One family that used the pedestrian route to walk to and from school
- The teachers and children from two classes.
This study was proposed and designed by a local residents' association. It centred on a school situated on the border between East Dulwich and Camberwell. The association was concerned that many of the children attending Dog Kennel Hill Primary School walked to and from school using the busy A2216 road, rather than healthier, safer alternative routes. With the help of teachers at the school, two classes learnt about air pollution issues and were given pollution monitors to carry with their guardians along their usual walking, bus and car routes. The classes also marked their routes on maps and explored which routes they took and what the alternatives could be.
Members of the East Dulwich Regeneration Project carried out additional monitoring to contrast pollution levels on local main roads and alternative quiet or pedestrian routes to augment the children's monitoring.
The findings were unequivocal: Although the two routes were almost the same distance, the main road walkers exposed themselves to higher levels of air pollution than those walking the quieter pedestrian route. A simple graph produced from the data made it easy for the children and their families to relate the results closely to their daily activity. “For the participants it was almost as if they were seeing air pollution".
As they were directly engaged in the gathering of evidence, the children and their families could relate to the public health information being given to them. The results were clear and straightforward and applicable to their neighbourhood; families could easily identify the places where pollution was worst. The findings are also being used by the residents’ association as evidence that walking routes should be an important part of estate planning regeneration projects.
This was a pilot study. A similar study is underway, which includes a follow up phase where the children taking part are asked later in the year whether they had changed their behaviour after they had seen the results.
Project Coordinator: Ms Eleanor Margolies email@example.com