On 13 and 14 September we held workshops at the Junior Road Safety Event at The City Chambers to show school kids how everyday activities contribute to air pollution. The event is organised by colleagues in Road Safety and Active Travel who work with Junior Road Safety Officers (JRSOs) to help promote road safety and active travel amongst their peers. They do this through competitions, assemblies and events in school, and help them put together their travel plans to reduce cars on the school run, reduce congestion and promote walking, scooting and cycling.
This annual event brings together Edinburgh primary school children who are JRSOs and provides them with ideas to promote road safety issues in their school and local community.
Air pollution has been recently described by the World Health Organisation’s Director General as ’the major public health issue of our generation’. Because we can’t always see it, it is easy not to think about it.
But transport is a major source of local air pollution here in Edinburgh, and reducing vehicle emissions or using our cars less for example by walking or cycling instead, is one way we can help improve air quality.
The workshop activity used food colourings to represent pollutants in air. Adding drops of these to glasses of water (representing clean air) allowed the children to see how their individual activities including travel to school can pollute the air we breathe. The children compared their glasses and discussed ways they could reduce their own contributions.
The feedback we got from the children who attended the event was really positive and we hope it helps to give them a better understanding of some of the air quality issues in the city.