A survey study to explore Particulate Matter (PM) air pollution levels and assess parents’ opinions towards air pollution around primary schools in Liverpool.
Keywords:Air pollution, Air quality, Air pollution & primary schools, Air pollution & public health, Effects of air quality on children, Anonymous questionnaire, Self-selecting sample and Particulate matter (PM)
Outdoor air pollution is a serious threat to human health and the environment and is a global issue. In the UK around 40000 deaths are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution, and it plays a significant role in many of our health challengers today. Air Pollution is a significant threat to young people’s health, and it has been widely recognised that children are highly vulnerable to its effects. Research has found that 3.4 million UK children are going to school in environments with unhealthy levels of air quality. The aim of the research was to explore levels of particulate matter (PM) and assess parents and carers opinions towards air pollution around primary schools in Liverpool. In doing this the study would gain a better understanding of air pollution levels present around primary school in Liverpool and identify and assess key areas where parents’ actions and behaviours could be changed to improve the air quality around their child’s school. The study used a quantitative method, using a dual approach of physical PM2.5 monitoring and the use of an online questionnaire to collect the data. The researcher used a self-selective sampling method. Three primary schools in the West Derby & Old Swan area of Liverpool were contacted by the researcher and agreed to act as the gatekeeper for the study and distribute the online questionnaire to their parents and carers, the questionnaire received 112 responses. The PM2.5 monitoring was carried out at primary school that agreed to take part in the study, during 3 intervals of the school day. The results were then analysed by the researcher using both Excel and SPSS data software. The results revealed the majority (80%) of participants believed their form of travel had some impact on air quality around the school. The majority of participants (55%) used a motor vehicle for the school commute (petrol 46%, diesel, 49%). The finding of the study also revealed that the majority (66%) of participants were parking as close to the school as possible during school drop of and pick up times. The research revealed that more research is required into air pollution around primary schools, to further parents and carers knowledge and understanding of the health threats associated with poor air quality can have on their children. Further research of the subject could provide schools and their parents and carers to make more informed choices on their actions to improve air quality around the school.
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