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How to avoid air pollution on the way to school

26. 04. 2021 Mobilita

In connection with the gradual relaxation of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, mass school opening is long awaited. However, in addition to the risk of coronavirus infection, pupils and students may face an "old-new" threat in the form of poor air quality when they start school.


Children are a particularly sensitive group in terms of the negative health effects of air pollutants, together with the elderly, pregnant women and the chronically ill. On the way to school, children may be exposed to high concentrations of nitrogen oxides (NOX) and dust particles (PM10, PM2.5), which come from traffic.

Do you drive children to school?

It's early in the morning, or a fresh afternoon, and you bring/pick up your child by car, in front of the school, often idling, unknowingly releasing the same amount of emissions into the air as in motion. If it's not you, it's the parents of your kid´s classmates. It is therefore important to be informed and appeal to the community. There is an increased risk for schools that are close to busy roads.

Parents as a driving force for change

The "Mums for Lungs" movement, which brings together parents from parts of London, has come up with the "School Streets" project, which aims to temporarily close roads near schools at the time of arrival and departure to and from school. Only cyclists and pedestrians are allowed to pass at the time of closure. Streets are marked with signs that inform drivers of the closure. Exemptions can be requested by residents, local businesses and drivers with disability. This solution can improve the current state of air quality around schools, increase safety, and also support community relations.

Similar projects operate around the world. In the neighboring Czech Republic, safe walking to school is coordinated by the organization "On foot through the city". The reason is not only the improvement of air quality but also the condition of children who lack enough movement.

Initiatives to take children to school on foot are also emerging in Slovakia.