Air purifiers to be donated to classrooms

This is the first time that a charitable donation has been organized in the city to combat air pollution in schools and kindergartens.

Five hundred air purifiers collected from a charity donations will be distributed to 50 kindergartens and schools to combat indoor air pollution.

A donation event was launched in the city yesterday that aims to provide “a healthy and sustainable study environment” for schoolchildren.

This is the first time that a charitable donation has been organized in the city to combat air pollution on campus. The donation event will run until October 31. Funds collected from the public or companies will be used to buy air purifiers.

All kindergartens, primary and middle schools in Shanghai are eligible to apply to have the air purifiers installed.

Once the purifiers are no longer serviceable, they will be collected together for unified processing to avoid resource waste and unnecessary pollution, according to the organizer, the Shanghai Service Development and Research Foundation.

“By providing free air purifiers to kindergartens and schools in the city, we hope to minimize the health impact of indoors air pollution on children,” said Li Wei, director of the environmental protection fund of the foundation.

“It is also hoped that the event will raise people’s awareness on the health of our next generation and find a solution to tackle air pollution in classrooms,” Li added.

Authorities will collect data from the event to help to find the best solution for improving classroom health.

There are 2,439 kindergartens, 1,439 primary schools and 774 middle schools in Shanghai. Primary and middle school students spend an average eight to 10 hours at school every day, and 80 percent of that time is spent in the classroom, according to research.

“If the air quality reaches a serious level, education authorities will inform us to suspend outdoor activities, but air pollution is also a big concern in classrooms,” said Zhao Yajie, director of the Minjing Road Kindergarten in Yangpu District.

Dirty air quality, high concentration of carbon dioxide, hazardous airborne particles, bacterium, radon, heavy metal and even toxic gases are common in classrooms that are often crowded. All these factors threaten the healthy growth of children, according to experts.

Major air pollutants in classrooms in elementary and middle schools include the tiny PM2.5 particles that are hazardous to health, as well as carbon dioxide, formaldehyde and benzene, said Huang Chen, a lawmaker and a professor with the School of Environment and Architecture of University of Shanghai for Science and Technology.

PM2.5 levels inside classrooms can be three times higher than the national safety standard, according to Huang, who suggested a law to regulate indoor air conditions in classrooms.

She said students sometimes feel drowsy after sitting inside the classroom for too long.

The donation hotline is 021-65341533.

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