Air pollution is thought to contribute to 40,000 early deaths in the UK every year and a recent investigation by The Times newspaper revealed pollution levels outside every school in London exceed those recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Children at Kingsmead Primary learned how to use air pollution monitors and carried out a survey of local pollution levels, as well as making their own waterwheels and learning about sustainable energy sources.
Pupils were encouraged to think about how they could lead more sustainable lifestyles, with their ideas including using fewer electronic devices, wasting less paper and riding their bikes more often.
A family roadshow took place on the school playground at the end of the project, for parents and carers to find out more about what their children had learned.
Kirsty Green, project lead at EcoACTIVE, said: “This was a valuable opportunity to engage with local children about the environment and share some of the small actions they can take to help make a real difference.
“The sessions were enthusiastically received and we know from teachers, families and the children themselves that everyone is eager to share their new knowledge and understanding with the wider community.”
Sanctuary will be funding EcoACTIVE to carry out a further project at the school, which will see pupils produce an interactive map of local pollution levels. There are also plans to hold further workshops for young people in Hackney, focusing on the wider issue of climate change.
Toby Moore, Sanctuary’s neighbourhood partnerships manager, commented: “It’s vital that young people in our communities are aware of the causes and impact of air pollution and what we can all do to help.
“We are committed to supporting projects that raise awareness on this important issue so future generations can help protect the environment and enjoy a better quality of life.”
Evelyn Deeney, Associate Headteacher at Kingsmead Primary School, added: “This exciting project has really helped our pupils to understand the role they can play in tackling air pollution.
“It also fits well with our drive to increase awareness of climate change and its causes across the whole school and to promote healthy lifestyles to our children and their families.”
This project was supported by Sanctuary’s Community Investment Fund, supporting projects which benefit Sanctuary residents and their communities.