Pupils from primary schools in Ardeer, Deer Park North, Kingsville, Newport Lakes, Spotswood and Wembley will be equipped with air quality Dyson backpacks over a four-day period Monday through Thursday at a time of their choice over the coming months.
The backpacks serve as a portable air sensor and measure fine particles, nitrogen dioxide pumped out by car exhausts, cigarette smoke, sulfur dioxide produced by heavy industry, organic compounds and carbon dioxide.
The results will be analyzed by Deakin researchers, who will eventually tell the students how to improve the quality of the air they breathe.
The project aims to empower children to become air quality scientists, said lead researcher Kate Lycett.
“As our future leaders, they will face many complex issues, including air pollution and its impacts,” she said.
“We hope the project will nurture children’s scientific curiosity, improve our understanding of air pollution and ultimately lead to behavioral and government policy changes to reduce exposure to air pollution in Melbourne’s inner west.”
The study will add to the Environment Protection Authority’s existing monitoring of air quality to drive insights, health advice and decision-making, said chief environmental scientist Mark Patrick Taylor.
The backpacks were originally developed by Dyson for a similar project in the UK, which led to more than 30 per cent of a group of children deciding to change the way they commute to reduce their exposure to air pollution.
The findings of the Breathe Melbourne study will be published later this year.
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