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Climate Detectives (investigation category)

Team: C.B.S Air

Ireland 16 years old   4 / 0

Project title:

Air Quality in our school yard

Research question

Investigate the air quality in our school yard due the proximity of the school to a very busy road leading into our town.

Identify the local environmental/climate problem you want to investigate

Our school is adjacent to a very busy road and also at the junction of 4 roads in Roscommon town. There is a constant flow of traffic on these roads, especially in the morning and evening. We wish to investigate these emission levels at a local level and how they may be impacting us. Students can spend up to eight or nine hours on the school grounds 5 days a week with arriving to school early, staying late to train for sports on our school pitch, which is also beside the busy road or staying late for evening study. According to the Roscommon County Development Plan 2022-2028 one of the strategic aims for the future development of county Roscommon is to direct a significant proportion of the county’s assigned population growth to Roscommon town and Athlone West, thereby enabling the creation of a critical mass in those areas for the provision of increased services facilities and employment opportunities. This could potentially lead to the road getting busier in the coming years.

Project topic

Air pollution

Describe how you plan to investigate the problem identified and which data you plan to analyse.

We plan to record the air quality around our school using an Air quality Monitor. We are currently researching and sourcing the air quality monitor that would suit us best. We have applied to get The Air Quality Platform (AQP) with the help of our Climate Detective co-ordinator. The Air Quality Platform is a small platform based on a Raspberry Pi computer and equipped with a set of sensors that measure different characteristics of the ambient air. On top of that, the platform comes with a GPS receiver for localization.
The platform measures: particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ammonia (NH3), carbon dioxide (CO2), temperature and humidity. It uses its Raspberry Pi to access the internet (via Wi-Fi) and send data to a centralized server. This website then allows visualizing the location of the several AQPs and their respective measurements in real time. The map widget also allows comparing the measurements with the latest data obtained by the Copernicus Sentinel-5p satellite (Air Quality Platform | ESA Air Quality Platform).
Our plan is to collect the air quality data at various times throughout the winter months during the school year in the most exposed areas in our school yard and inside our school as well. Following data collection, we will collate our results and inform our school community.

Your feedback

Expert feedback Phase 1 - 2023-2024
Is the suggested problem a problem that the students can actually investigate? Is it feasible, realistic? Please explain why or why not. Is the relation with climate/local environment worked out? Where necessary indicate the wider scientific context to which the identified problem belongs.