Effective Ways to Improve Air Quality in Classrooms

In a recent study conducted by the University of Surrey, researchers have found that using air purifiers in classrooms during the school day and opening windows after hours can significantly improve air quality. With 7,800 schools in England located in areas where air pollution exceeds WHO limits, addressing this issue is crucial for the health and well-being of students.

According to Nidhi Rawat, a researcher at Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE), alternating air purifiers with scheduled window openings is an effective way to clean up classroom air. The effectiveness of this approach depends on the characteristics and location of the classroom, as well as when windows are opened. While keeping windows open may not always be practical, a tailored approach can be a sensible solution.

The study monitored pollution levels in two classrooms at an infant school in Guildford, UK, located near a busy road with heavy traffic. The classrooms, occupied by 4 to 5-year-olds and 6 to 7-year-olds respectively, showed significant improvements in air quality when air purifiers were alternated with scheduled window openings. In the classroom facing the road, coarse particle pollution decreased by 18%, while in the other classroom, it decreased by 36%. Carbon dioxide levels also saw reductions of 28% and 11% in the two classrooms, demonstrating the positive impact of this approach.

Professor Prashant Kumar, director of GCARE, emphasized the importance of optimizing the benefits of air purifiers and window openings in classrooms. This study provides valuable insights for policymakers looking to address air quality issues in schools. With millions of children around the world exposed to poor quality air while they learn, implementing effective strategies like using air purifiers and opening windows can make a significant difference.

Improving air quality in classrooms is essential for creating a healthy and conducive learning environment for students. By adopting a strategic approach that combines the use of air purifiers and scheduled window openings, schools can effectively reduce pollution levels and promote better respiratory health among students. With the findings from this study, educators and policymakers have valuable information to guide their decisions on improving air quality in schools.

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