CleanAir@School is designed primarily to raise awareness of air pollution as a health risk and mobility around schools. It also provides a mechanism for participating EPAs to highlight more broadly their activities on air quality and their engagement with local communities.
The citizen science campaign has been designed together with EPAs to address a clear research question. It focuses on children’s exposure to a key air pollutant, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), in the school environment and thus provides rich opportunities for communication; including educating children about air quality as well as raising awareness amongst pupils and their parents of the impacts of road transport on air quality. The initiative aims to explore whether parents adapt their choice of transport for bringing children to school as a result of increased awareness.
In addition, the initiative explores how data collected by citizens might complement official air quality monitoring performed by EPAs to improve understanding of local air quality. At a European level, this can support the European Commission’s efforts to streamline environmental reporting, in particular to ‘promote the wider use of citizen science to complement environmental reporting’ (Action 8).