Project title: 18 little scientists without limits fighting to have a better air in their own town
2019-2020 I.C. Casteller Paese Paese (Treviso) Italy 18 Student’s age: 12-13
Summary of the project
We investigated the problem of air quality in our local environment. Our hypothesis is that the air is polluted because of the presence of many industries and vehicular traffic. Moreover, the Po Valley’s geography causes air stagnation. We measured air temperature, air humidity, CO2, PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations in the air. We used shared spread sheets to gather, update and analyse data, collected in different days with different weather conditions. We hosted an ARPAV (regional agency for prevention and protection of the environment) expert in our classroom; we compared our data with ARPAV data. We learnt how an ARPAV monitoring unit works; we discovered that ARPAV could also provide archives of data during last years. We investigated which kind of factor could affect air pollution. We had information about the main sources of pollutants, and about projects carried out to fix air pollution. We also summarized our own actions that could help to mitigate this problem. During the COVID-19 lockdown, we checked ARPAV data in order to understand how air quality was changing. We summarized our data, results and suggestions in a multimedia presentation, in order to raise awareness about this situation. We planned to publish this presentation in a virtual school exhibit, in order to raise awareness on this problem.
We discovered that the air in our region sometimes is very bad. PM10 levels are often high, moreover during the winter. We compared our data with ARPAV data and we found that – sensors we used are very sensitive to microenvironmental variability – ARPAV data are more realiable, also because they can constantly take measures, each day and each hour. PM10 levels depend on many factors, for example: 1. the hour of the day: this could due to the traffic and/or to the air temperature 2. meteo conditions: for example, PM10 decreased after a strong wind 3. vertical profile of temperature. We looked at http://weather.uwyo.edu/upperair/sounding.html During the night in winter, cold air is often trapped on the ground (thermal inversion) 4. other events, for examples New Year’s fireworks and Epiphany’s bonefires 5. During the COVID-19 lockdown, air quality was going better and better, maybe due to less traffic higher average air temperature.
Actions to help lessen the problem
We thought about some actions we can carry out, to have a better air, for example: – going to school on foot or by bike; – going to the town centre by bus or going on a train trip; – turning off the TV when we don’t watch it; – turning off the light when we leave a room. We shared also our thoughts in our presentations: we want share our discoveries and pobervations through a virtual school exhibit. “The Earth is like a body and the air is its lungs: if we continue to suffocate them, sooner or later they will die” “Everyone should do his part and think about the consequences of his actions” “The world is not ours, so we must treat it as best as we can”” The Earth is our home and it is irreplaceable: we must learn to respect it” “Working together we can get a better world”
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