Teachers Say Pollution Affecting Children’s Concentration

air pollution

Children in the UK are exposed to toxic air and their teachers know this because the students’ grades and performance have been significantly affected. Some students also find it difficult to concentrate when they are inside the classroom. This is because over 70% of the classrooms have poor air quality and are therefore not safe for both the students and their teachers.

Airflow, a ventilation expert, recently conducted a study called The Air Quality in UK Classrooms Report. They went around the UK, visited around 133 schools, and talked to teachers to gather insights and information regarding the quality of air in their school.

Around 61%, or three in five teachers, expressed their opinion that the air quality inside classrooms has an impact on children’s health, specifically since it aggravates asthma and other respiratory or lung diseases. Asthma is one of the major causes of children’s urgent and frequent hospitalisations in England. The majority of asthma admissions are often aggravated by exposure to air pollution. 

The study also discovered that poor air quality can trigger changes in a student’s behaviour. For example, over 50% of students who have been regularly exposed to toxic air become irritable or even begin to develop antisocial behaviour.

If the school or classroom is located in the city, the numbers are higher and the impact is greater, and more young school children are affected. Cities have air and industrial pollution.

The teachers are affected as well as around 63% of them admitted to experiencing mental and physical health symptoms after being regularly exposed to poor air quality.

About 31% of the surveyed teachers said that although they have reported to school authorities and requested for improvement and repairs, there has been no action from the administration. Some 27% of the teachers, however, say that their school officials are doing everything that they can but assistance from the UK government is lacking.

What some schools are doing

With air quality being substandard, some teachers have pointed out the following actions:

  • If there are heating appliances in school, the old ones should be thrown away and new ones must be used.  
  • Classroom windows and playground windows must be situated far from roads. 
  • The school should invest in an air purification or filtration system.
  • While classes are ongoing, cars should be restricted from the area until the school is empty.

A school speech and language therapist painted a picture of the situation when she described how some schools have poorly lit indoor areas where there is very little ventilation. As such, children are often dehydrated and faint because the classrooms are stuffy, hot, and poorly ventilated. Children getting drowsy while in class are also a common sight.

child with pregnant mom

According to the therapist, even if school leaders are committed to improving air quality and reducing toxic air, their actions can be limited by the policies that their local council has created for clean air and air pollution reduction. School officials often have to rely on which government and council policies are in place. 

High emission levels

Emissions are a primary cause of air pollution in the UK. This specifically pertains to nitrogen emissions or NOx, which are released by diesel-powered vehicles. Exposure to NOx can cause mental health issues and complications such as reduced lung function, breathing problems, asphyxiation, emphysema, laryngospasm or spasm of the vocal cords, certain cancers, and cardiovascular issues. 

Over the years, numerous studies and reports have also proven that constant exposure to high levels of nitrogen oxide emissions can lead to premature death. 

This is what happened to nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah who died after a severe asthma attack. She had been in and out of the hospital for months because of seizures and respiratory issues. Ella and her mother Rosamund lived near a highly polluted area. After an inquest, the coroner formally announced that her death was primarily caused by air pollution.

Nitrogen oxide emissions are also the main issue in the 2015 Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal. 

What was the diesel emissions scandal all about?

The Dieselgate scandal started with only Volkswagen being implicated by US authorities in the use of illegal defeat devices in their diesel vehicles. VW had to pay fines, offer compensation to affected car owners, and face class-action lawsuits filed by customers in the United States.

Mercedes-Benz was also found to have used the same cheat device in their diesel vehicles a year or so later, although the first Mercedes emissions cases in the UK started only in 2020.

Other car manufacturers are also involved in the scandal, including Renault, BMW, Ford, Peugeot, and Alfa Romeo. 

The defeat device installed in vehicles detects when a car is in testing so it can artificially reduce emissions levels and keep them within the World Health Organization limits. So, inside the lab, the car appears safe and clean.

When the vehicle is driven in real-world road conditions though, the device uncaps the vehicle’s emissions levels, causing them to soar beyond WHO- and EU-mandated limits. Thus, the vehicle is a pollutant.

Affected car owners can file an emission compensation claim and hold their manufacturers responsible for the deceit and for poisoning the environment. 

Work with a panel of emissions solicitors for a convenient Mercedes emissions claim process. Get in touch right away with ClaimExperts.co.uk to find out if you are qualified to file a Dieselgate compensation claim so you can start working on it now.