How citizen activists can check politicians’ statements on air pollution

Are you sceptical about what your Ministry of Environment declares about air pollution? Test it! This is what some activists member of two associations (PEN and Science for Change Movement) have done in Prishtina, Kosovo.  By means of digital tools that work as sensors able of measuring and monitoring the presence of PM2.5 –

Atmospheric particulate matter – also known as particulate matter (PM) or particulates – are microscopic solid or liquid matter suspended in the Earth’s atmosphere. The term aerosol commonly refers to the particulate/air mixture, as opposed to the particulate matter alone.Sources of particulate matter can be man-made or natural. They have impacts on climate and precipitation that adversely affect human health.” (Wikipedia) – in the air, activists have assessed that the air pollution in an area around a school exceeds acceptable limits. Data show how the pupils of the school are at high risk of exposure to poisoning. This can undermine the cognitive and physical development of the children, according to several studies conducted by renowned institutions.

mappa prishtina

“The red line represents the areas in which the measurements were conducted where values exceeded acceptable limits according to the Air Quality Index that is used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The measurements that are seen here were conducted on January 25, 2017, and the maximum level of PM2.5 pollution reached 160.44 micrograms per cubic meter. Whereas the values that are considered to be allowable are 0-25 micrograms per cubic meter. Image courtesy of PEN and the Science for Change Movement.”

This research has been possible thanks to the collaboration of the school staff that has allowed the research. Many similar tests have been conducted by activists in Kosovo involving young students who have the chance to learn very early the importance of good air quality.

Read the full article on making sense and get more insights and details about the investigations presented above. Maps and more education activities that have directly involved primary schools children are reported at the end of the article.

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