“Our children are suffocating”
Air quality is one of the biggest health concerns of our time.
Pollution in the air we breathe has been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and even to dementia. According to the Royal College of Physicians, every year around 40,000 early deaths can be attributed to outdoor air pollution with the young and elderly being most at risk.
For years we have been told to kill your speed when driving around schools, but all day traffic movement around schools can have a long term effect on the health of our children.
Protecting Playgrounds - a scientific approach
Protecting Playgrounds seeks to protect our children by planting pre-grown hedgerows around schools in Manchester located along some of our busiest roads.
New research shows that hedges are the most effective form of “green screen”, trapping air pollution before harmful particulates and gases reach small children in the playground. Working with scientists from Lancaster University we will know what species mix delivers the best protection by September 2019.
This project will break key new ground by measuring and optimising the effectiveness of boundary hedges for removing the finest particles (particles less than 100 nanometers in size), which pose the greatest hazard to health.
Professor Barbara Maher, Lancaster University adds:
“This project has the potential to deliver some of the most ground-breaking and important evidence delivered to date in recognising the importance and value that green infrastructure can play in terms of reducing airborne pollution. It could quite literally, be a life saver for the children of Manchester and of this country”.
During the hedgerow installation Groundwork will deliver a number of educational programmes which puts the science into young people's hands; undertaking activities that will encourage behaviour change in and outside of school.
What your donation will achieve
To have an immediate effect on the air quality reaching children in the playground mature species must be used when planting the hedgerow.
Established plants are expensive and our estimates put 1 metre of green screen protection at approximately £250.
Every donation you make will be increasing the coverage at our four schools.
We will initially pilot the scheme in 4 vulnerable schools:
1. Abbott Primary, Collyhurst
2. St Ambrose RC Primary, Didsbury
3. St Philips CE Primary, Hulme
4. Medlock Primary, Ardwick
However, any additional extra funding will go towards starting projects at other schools across Greater Manchester.
Please give generously to help us protect more children in more schools.
Richard Clarke is our leading landscape architect at Groundwork in Greater Manchester.
Richard has a broad range of experience in delivering programmes and projects within social housing, public realm, play and sport, education, parks and community gardens.
James O'Farrell has over 14 years’ experience in the youth and community sector and has been Youth Manager at Groundwork in Greater Manchester since 2016. Environmental youth work is a core part of his delivery. James has a deep understanding on the subject and the various ways to engage young people in a difficult area for them to relate to.
Professor Barbara Maher is a Professor of Environmental Science at Lancaster University and her major research interest is to investigate the health impacts of airborne magnetic pollution particles.